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SC school district latest victim to ransomware

A local tech expert says school districts are the next big targets of the ransomware attacks.

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. -- A South Carolina school district is the latest victim to ransomware.

Chester County School District posted on its Facebook page Monday that ransomware hit the district’s servers over the weekend. The post went on to say that no data has been taken or breached, and it has a specialist on site to assist the district.

John Griffith, owner of TeamLogic IT in south Charlotte, said he believes school districts are the next big targets of the ransomware attacks.

"There's a trove of personal information about children and families in all these school districts,” Griffith said.

The ransomware can lock up a school district’s data and demand hundreds or thousands of dollars to get it back, Griffith said.

"Most of the time when you pay the ransom, you're really just opening the door to subsequent attacks in the future,” he added.

In December 2017, Mecklenburg County Government fell victim to a ransomware attack. Forty-eight servers were impacted while the criminals behind the ransomware demanded $23,000.

Mecklenburg County refused to pay the ransom.

"I can't overemphasize the scale of the criminal enterprise here,” Griffith said. “They're dedicated to stealing our stuff, stealing our data."

In order to protect you or your business in the future, Griffith said it’s important to have the right hardware and software systems in place such as antivirus, anti-malware, firewalls, and web filters.

He said it’s important to have a plan if you can’t access your IT assets by putting onsite and offsite backups in place.

Griffith also suggests training employees recognize phishing emails, documents they shouldn’t click on, and email addresses that aren’t valid.

"I think the era of thinking that we don't have something worth stealing is over with,” Griffith said. "All of our data is worth something to someone."