IL: Pekin high school hit by ransomware and $37,000 demand

Nick Vlahos reports:

A cyberattack last weekend has been forcing students, teachers and administrators at Pekin Community High School to forgo its computer systems.

That hasn’t been easy.

“You really quickly realize how much you rely on technology when you don’t have access to it for a couple of days,” Danielle Owens, the District 303 superintendent, said Wednesday.

Pekin officials discovered the problem Monday. Sometime Sunday, a hacker apparently used malware to infect the school’s computers. Pekin officials have no idea who it was; Owens believed it might even be a non-American entity.

The hacker used encryption to make it impossible for Pekin representatives to access information stored in the system. In return for unlocking it, the saboteur demanded a ransom — $37,000, according to Owens. It was not paid.

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