The Los Angeles School District’s Cyberattacks

Op-Ed: The cyberattack on Los Angeles schools could happen anywhere for any reason, so why is it happening here?

By Elizabeth Williams

As a parent with a child in the Los Angeles Unified School District, I am worried about the cyberattack on campuses – a major threat that is unfolding here in the nation’s second-largest school system. This is something that I’m watching.

The Los Angeles schools have had several cyber intrusions in the past.

In 2009, there was a sophisticated hacking at Los Angeles’s South Pasadena community school. They were able to make “keystroke” substitutions into the attendance system for a student who was supposed to attend school there. That school has since closed.

In 2012, another school district, in the San Diego county, also had an attack that caused students’ attendance to change. That attack was carried out by a group that was identified by multiple sources as being from China. The principal of the school said he did not know whether the Chinese hackers were responsible or if they were from Russia. In any case, their goal was to “silence the teachers.”

In the summer of 2013, there was another cyber attack on a teacher’s email inbox. The victim’s email was hacked and it was made to look like a message to an imaginary “teacher friend” named “Elizabeth Williams.” Her inbox was then shared with a fellow teacher who used it to send some sort of cyber message. The victim wrote back an email to the teacher friend saying: “What’s this from? I don’t recognize your email address. And, why would you send this to me? I don’t work for you.”

Two years ago, the school district in Austin, Texas, went through many security changes when it was discovered that it had been attacked using malware. The attackers were able to steal the district’s login details and then used them to log in to the district’s system.

In September of 2012, there was a cyber attack on the Los Angeles school district that caused the district to temporarily shut down. When school resumed the next day, teachers had to use an outside company called “WebServe” to check in students, which was not possible before

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