L.A. Unified School District Hit by Ransomware Attack

The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the U.S., said it was targeted in a ransomware attack and had confirmed “an external cyberattack” on its information-technology infrastructure. Despite the disruption, the LAUSD said schools will open as scheduled on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

The school district, in a notice released late Monday, said it “detected unusual activity in its Information Technology systems over the weekend” and said the incident is “likely criminal in nature.” The LAUSD said it assessing the situation with local law enforcement agencies alongside officials from the Department of Education, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

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The school district did not provide details of the ransomware attack or which systems specifically were affected. On Tuesday, LAUSD said that all students and employees are required to change their passwords for @lausd.net accounts.

Visitors to the LAUSD site Tuesday were presented with a pop-up message that said, “We’re experiencing a service outage with multiple applications. Our team is currently working to restore the service. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

The LAUSD said it is “immediately establishing a plan of action, informed by top public and private sector technology and cyber security professionals, to determine additional protections for the District, and to provide an independent opinion on system-wide protective measures.”

The school district said it expected “uninterrupted instruction and staffing” for Tuesday. Ransomware is a type of cyberattack that demands that the target pay a ransom to access encrypted files that have been hijacked by an attacker.

The Los Angeles Unified School District serves more than 600,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade at more than 1,000 schools. The district also has more than 200 independently operated public charter schools, authorized by the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. Los Angeles Unified’s boundaries stretch across 720 square miles and include the City of Los Angeles as well as all or parts of 31 municipalities and several unincorporated regions of Southern California.

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