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Ransomware attack at Linn-Mar School District: What we know now

MARION, Iowa (KCRG) – The FBI were involved with the computer breach the Linn-Mar School District experienced… and we’re learning more from a records request.

This was the second district that experienced network interruptions that have now been revealed to be ransomware attacks.

In a records request to the district, our i-9 team learned that Linn-Mar’s director of technology services Jeri Ramos was researching ransomware attacks after the initial incident.

In an email, she said, “I have read a LOT about Ransom Ware”. That was on August 3rd.

Again, no officials have confirmed the attack or if staff and student information was at risk.

A Linn-Mar staff member leaked a screenshot that showed a warning message stating “all your files have been encrypted by Vice Society”.

The warning goes on to threaten to upload those files to the dark web unless the user contacts them to purchase a key within seven days. The notice did not give the cost of that key.

In another email, Ramos said she was concerned about the possibility of the district being targeted because of its proximity to the Cedar Rapids Community School District, which was the victim of a ransomware attack just a month before.

She said quote “We’re we just CRCSD adjacent, so targeted in that way? Did one of ours open an infected file from CRCSD and unknowingly download the payload?”

Linn-Mar does have insurance under the company Travelers. When it comes to Cyber extortion they’re covered up to a million dollars.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette is also reporting that the FBI was involved with this investigation.

And like we mentioned earlier, the Cedar Rapids school district was also the target of a cyber attack back in July. When our team asked for a records request of emails from them, they asked for nearly five thousand dollars for those documents.

Linn-Mar charged us nothing for this request. Linn-Mar did not respond to our request for a comment on this story as of the publishing of this article.

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