At least 45 school districts and 44 colleges were hit by ransomware attacks in 2022, according to a year-end report from internet security firmEmsisoft.
The annual number of attacks has held steady over the last four years despite aggressive prevention efforts by the cybersecurity industry and the government.
The attackers are reaching more schools by going after larger districts. Last year, targeted school districts operated 1,981 individual schools, nearly double the number of schools targeted the year before.
Cybersecurity experts believe the actual number of incidents is much higher than reported.
Ransomware attacks involve hijacking sensitive data from an organization, then demanding money to either return the data or prevent it from being published on the dark web.
In 2021, ransomware groups successfully acquired data from roughly half of the schools they targeted, the report says. In 2022, they increased that rate to two-thirds.