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Ransomware attack shuts thousands of school websites globally

In a serious ransomware attack, hackers have hit an education technology company, Finalsite, shutting down thousands of school websites and nearly 5,000 alone in the US.

Finalsite provides school districts with website design, hosting and content management solutions.

In a statement, the company said that they continue to restore more websites and core functionality every hour.

“We remain committed to restoration, as quickly and safely as possible. Our team is actively monitoring performance and security across our infrastructure, and we will continue to work through the night and weekend until every site is back online,” the company said on Friday.
Earlier this week, at least 8,000 schools globally, hosted by Finalsite, discovered that they were no longer accessible or displayed errors.

“Our team identified the presence of ransomware on certain systems in our environment,” the company said.

“We immediately took steps to secure our systems and to contain the activity. We quickly launched an investigation into the event with the assistance of third-party forensic specialists, and began proactively taking certain systems offline,” it added.

A company spokesperson told TechCrunch that 5,000 of its total 8,000 global customers — including school districts in Kansas City, Illinois and Missouri — are affected by the incident.

One Reddit user said the incident also prevented some schools from sending email notifications about school closures due to Covid-19 outbreaks.

“Our team continues to make progress restoring functionality to websites,” said the company.

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