(TNS) — Suffolk County, N.Y., and Long Island University's Homeland Security and Terrorism Institute will host a cybersecurity summit next month in the aftermath of two local school districts being hacked this summer with a ransomware virus, officials said Tuesday.
The summit, to be held Oct. 16, was organized partly in response to the Rockville Centre school district paying nearly $90,000 in July to hackers who encrypted files on the system’s server until payment was made to unlock the information. The other district, Mineola, was corrupted by the same ransomware, known as "Ryuk," but the district did not have to pay a ransom to unlock data because it had everything backed up offline.
The invitation-only summit, which will include state and federal experts from industry, law enforcement, academia and government, will be held at the LIU Tilles Center in Brookville, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.
"The fact of the matter is that security breaches against local municipalities and school districts are becoming more frequent, jeopardizing critical data and controls that threaten the everyday lives of our residents,” he said.
The summit is expected to cover the cybersecurity threats local governments face, along with opportunities and resources that are available to school districts, towns, villages and counties to protect themselves.
Ransomware has threatened several large governments and schools throughout the country and is believed to be coming out of Eastern Europe, according to news reports. Ransomware is a malware that targets data and systems for extortion and is delivered through targeted phishing emails, according to the FBI. After the user has been locked out of the data or system, there is a demand for payment, the agency said.
The state Education Department sent a notice to all districts July 31 about a cyb ..