Dark Overlord Hackers now threaten schools and parents with the stolen data about their school Children.
It’s vital that schools protect their information appropriately. You never realize who would possibly attempt to steal the data.
Parents of kids in Johnston Community School District (JCSD) in Iowa were left seriously worried after they got SMS from an unknown source threatening to kill the students at their schools.
The messages created panic among parents because they contained personal information about the kids. Some group of hackers had stolen students database from the school network.
The hacking group responsible for this is “The Dark Overlord”, which is the same group that previously blackmailed Netflix and leaked Orange Is the New Black episodes because they didn’t pay the ransom. The group earlier involved in Gorilla Glue theft and Indiana Cancer Services agency hack.
The school authorities and local law enforcement were forced to close all schools for a day in the district, as it was necessary to ensure the safety of the students.
“Dark Overlord” group later claimed the hack on Twitter. They also mentioned that it compelled more than 7,200 students to stay home because of the threats.
The stolen data was dumped on Pastebin, the next day. The deleted post included “student names, addresses and telephone numbers.” They also claimed in another tweet that child predators could easily use this data to harm them.
The motivation behind this incident is not yet clear if this is a part of an extortion effort or something else. The news indicates an unusual and worrying tactic when it comes to cyber criminals: making direct threats towards children. However, the authorities consider those threats don’t seem like genuine.
According to The Daily Beast, it is not yet clear how successful The Dark Overlord has been in extorting funds from victims, and the group representative said that the FBI had told victims not to pay. The Daily Beast reports that the group refused to elaborate when asked if the attack on lowa school district was part of a financially driven campaign.
Earlier in September, more than 30 schools in the Columbia Falls School district in Montana was prompted to close for three days because the Dark Overlord hacked their data from the district server.
Parents were receiving extremely graphic threats via text messages in the middle of September. Later a seven-page ransom letter demanding $150,000 in bitcoins was emailed by the hacker to members of the Columbia Falls school board and the superintendent.
Splendora School District in Texas was also hacked in September and exposed the students’ personal information. The school district did not reveal any potential ransom demand it had received, but put out a statement on Sept. 29 and warned the parents that they are receiving the threats.
A statement from the Splendora School District
The Dark Overlord name was not mentioned in the statement put out by Splendora School District.However later when the school officials contacted the Montana school district that was attacked, Steve Bradshaw Columbia Falls Superintendent said, “They believed that the case looked similar.
A similar incident took place in Crenshaw County Schools in Alabama and was shut down for two days last week when the FBI informed the school about an alarming social media post.In this case, there weren’t any threat messages for parents or the name of The Dark Overlord, but an article about the Columbia Falls School district in Montana hack suggests that it was a similar scenario.
It is interesting that this hack comes just weeks after the massive Equifax hack which exposed the personal information of many American citizens. Even though the school hack was much on a smaller scale, both show that it is crucial to have an increased interest in security at all levels of IT infrastructure.
The same trend and attack vector could be utilized in other regions also. Schools and parents must be more vigilant about these threats and have to make sure that adequate protection is in place to secure their children data.