Minneapolis Public Schools systems restored, no ransom paid
Jeremiah Jacobsen has an update to the “encryption event” previously disclosed by Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS).
[Note: MPS’s phrase “encryption event” appeared to be a ridiculous — and dare we say, sleazy– attempt not to call it a “ransomware attack.” The district still has not described it as ransomware attack.]
Minneapolis Public Schools released a new statement Wednesday. According to the new statement, the district was able to “restore the MPS environment using internal backups.” MPS did not pay a ransom. MPS’s statement does not claim that no ransom had been demanded, however.
However, KARE 11 also obtained a slightly different version of the statement that appeared to be sent as a letter to staff and families, cautioning them not to pay a ransom, and that “the threat actors may contact employees or staff in an attempt to coerce MPS to pay a ransom.”
So it was a ransomware incident and the district just played word games — or tried to.
KARE11 also reports:
District officials said the investigation so far “has not found any evidence that any data accessed has been used to commit fraud,” but MPS will continue to work with law enforcement as authorities investigate.
No evidence of fraud? But given that they have apparently refused to pay ransom and publicly indicated their refusal to pay, shouldn’t staff and parents expect to see data dumped or sold on the dark web? Or maybe it won’t be seen publicly but will be sold or traded privately?
Yesterday, the following tweet was posted on Twitter by @jjake61:
Current staff, former staff and retirees now reporting problems with being locked out of bank accounts and fraudulent bank and credit card charges. Why is @MPS_News not being forthcoming with what actually happened? We are clearly victims of a cyber crime so why be in CYA mode?
— jjake61 (@jjake61) March 1, 2023
DataBreaches was unable to find any confirmation or other sources on this claim, but this incident does not appear to be over. The incident is not currently listed on any dark web leak site checked by DataBreaches, but this post will be updated as more information becomes available.
In the meantime: those who believe they may be affected by the incident might do well to place security freezes on their credit reports. That will make it harder for criminals to open up new accounts using your information if the new account would require a credit check. This would also be a good time to perhaps create new and stronger passwords for banking and other important accounts and also employ multifactor authentication that does not use your phone as the second factor.