Ransomware hackers call victims and this is what they want:

Online security measures are constantly being updated, making it difficult for hackers to breach systems and steal information. But it doesn’t deter them for long and they quickly switch to other tactics.

Unfortunately, network infiltrations are still too common in the US, with government agencies, schools, and large corporations being the most lucrative targets.

In a new twist: hackers don’t demand payment from IT administrators. Read on to see how cybercriminals are putting pressure on ordinary people.

Here’s the backstory

Ransomware is not a new phenomenon. Every year, companies and individuals are locked out of their files because hackers demand exorbitant amounts of money to release them. In the first six months of last year, the global attack volume increased by 151%.

But what does that mean? Well, to put percentages in real numbers, there were 304.6 million ransomware attempts last year. Unsurprisingly, the US is one of the hardest hit countries. In terms of the top 10, the US had nearly four times as many ransomware attacks as the other nine countries combined.

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So when the Allen Independent School District in Dallas suffered an attack, it was not entirely unexpected. But what was different was who the thieves contacted with demands.

Details of the break-in are unclear, but cybercriminals claimed to have personal information about staff, students and families. Back then, All ISD explained that Wi-Fi systems, printers and cell phones had gone down and that the attack was “largely unsuccessful.”

But then the calls and emails started pouring in. In general, hackers contact IT administrators or the head of an organization. In this case, the criminals sent messages to parents and employees.

A parent explained to NBC that he received three threatening emails and a few phone calls. “We’ve been in control of the network for several months, so we had a lot of time to carefully study the data, exfiltrate and prepare for an attack,” reads a portion of the communication.

Yes, criminals behind the ransomware attack started calling parents and making demands. They told parents who have children in the school district that if district officials did not pay the ransom, they would release their children’s personal information on the Dark Web. They stole this data through the ransomware attack.

The parent didn’t even know the school district’s network had been hacked.

What can you do about it?

There are several ways to protect your data from ransomware attacks. Here are some suggestions:

Hang up the phone – the FBI says never to pay ransom for ransomware. After all, you are dealing with criminals. There is no guarantee that they will return your files, even if you pay. Therefore, if you receive a threatening phone call, you should hang up. Back up data regularly – this is the best way to recover critical data if your computer is infected with ransomware. Use a service you can rely on. We recommend our sponsor, I drive. You can back up all your PCs, Macs and mobile devices in ONE account for one low price! Visit IDrive.com and use promo code Kim to receive an exclusive offer.Never Click Risky Links in Emails – do not click on links from unsolicited emails, this could be phishing. Ransomware can infect your gadget through malicious links in phishing emails. Can you spot one? Take our phishing quiz to find out.DO NOT enable macros – For starters, never download PDF, Word, or Excel files attached to unsolicited emails. If you open one of these documents and it says to enable macros, close the file and delete it immediately. Have strong security software – this will help prevent the installation of ransomware on your gadget. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Go to ProtectWithKim.com to save 85% on total protection you can rely on.

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