More parents report experiencing ransomware attacks on their children’s schools, according to new data from Kaspersky. This year, 14 percent of American parents experienced ransomware attacks on their children’s K-12 schools while their child was a student, an increase from 9 percent last year.
Among schools that paid a ransom to their attackers, parents reported an average ransom of $887,360. In 2021, the average was just $375,311. The Ransomware Attacks on K-12 Schools report revealed a number of other findings related to parents’ experiences with these incidents.
In October 2022, Kaspersky surveyed 2,000 parents of school-age children in the United States to find out about their experiences with ransomware attacks on schools. The results are compared to a previous report that posed the same questions to a similar group of parents in October 2021, as well as to an earlier report in June 2021 asking parents more generally about cyberattacks on schools.
According to the survey results, a growing number of schools are opting to pay a ransom to their attackers, in order to restore their systems. In October 2021, 71% of parents who had experienced an attack said their school paid a ransom. This time, that figure rose to 76%, although 14% said their school didn’t pay, which was about the same as last time, while a shrinking percentage didn’t know. Ten percent of parents reporting an attack said the district paid a ransom of more than $1 million; up from 3.7% in 2021.
The rate of attacks on schools may still be rising. Forty-four percent of parents who have experienced an attack said it happened either last summer (2022) or during this school year – which is only partway over – compared to 42% who said it happened last school year (2021-2022) or the previous summer (2021). Fifteen percent said it happened during the 2020-2021 school year or earlier.