Bad weather, natural disasters and the like can result in school closings, but some districts do shut school doors for other \u201ccredible\u201d threats. Last year, creepy clowns caused panic and school lockdowns, but this year it is hackers threatening kids that has resulted in school closings across several states.The hacking group responsible is the Dark Overlord, the group that\u00a0leaked new Orange Is the New Black episodes because Netflix didn\u2019t pay a ransom. The same group tried to sell millions of pilfered healthcare records and was responsible for other attacks such as on Gorilla Glue and an Indiana cancer service agency. Now, it is targeting schools and scaring the snot out of parents by sending personalized text messages threatening their kids.IowaOn Oct. 2, the Dark Overlord hacked Johnston Community School District in Iowa and used the pilfered student data to send out threatening text messages to their parents. In response, the district district closed schools for one day and delayed classes by two hours on Oct. 4.Some of the text messages were shared with the media. One read: \u201cYour child is still so innocent. Don\u2019t have anyone look outside.\u201d When the parent told them to stop, the response was, \u201cI\u2019m only getting started.\u201dAnother threat read, \u201cI\u2019m going to kill some kids at your son\u2019s high school.\u201dAlso on Oct. 4, the Dark Overlord publicly claimed responsibility, tweeting:We're now publicly claiming responsibility for the threats that resulted in the closure of JCSD in Iowa and 7.200 children without school.\u2014 thedarkoverlord (@tdo_hackers) October 4, 2017The next day, the Dark Overlord dumped the stolen data on Pastebin. The now-deleted post included \u201cstudent names, addresses and telephone numbers.\u201d The better to help child predators, they claimed.With the student directory from JCSD we released, any child predator can now easily acquire new targets and even plan based on grade level.\u2014 thedarkoverlord (@tdo_hackers) October 5, 2017Why attack schools and threaten kids? \u201cWe\u2019re escalating the intensity of our strategy in response to the FBI\u2019s persistence in persuading clients away from us,\u201d a hacker from the group told The Daily Beast.Iowa is just one in a worrisome string of school hacks that resulted in threats of violence to children attending those school.MontanaIn September, the Columbia Falls School district in Montana closed more than 30 schools for three days after the Dark Overlord stole data from the district server. Police called the hacker a \u201ccyber terrorist.\u201dBy Sept. 13 and 14, parents were receiving \u201cextremely graphic threats via text messages.\u201d After a reporter asked why the Dark Overlord targeted Flathead Valley, the hacking group replied, \u201cI wanted the public to exist in a state of fear before I make my move. This will allow the government protecting your children to look poorly in the light of the public. \u2026 The quaint, small, backwoods region of the US like yours is prime hunting grounds. This incident is the last thing you will expect to happen here.\u201dThe school district received a seven-page ransom letter (pdf) demanding $150,000 in bitcoins on Sept. 18. Two of the three payment options offered \u201csignificant\u201d discounts if the associated demand was met.TexasAlso in September, Splendora School District in Texas was hacked and students\u2019 personal information was compromised. Although the school district did not release any potential ransom demand it had received on Sept. 27, it did put out a statement on Sept. 29:\u201cWe continue to receive threats from the group\/individual responsible for hacking our network. They have threatened a tiered escalation which could include direct messages to parents, students and staff. We do not know the exact information that they have, but it could contain specific names and confidential information, such as phone numbers and addresses. In previous cases, these messages have been via text and\/or email, and have been violent and graphic. The point of this is to incite fear and panic for parents.\u201dParents were told not to engage the hackers and to send a copy of any threatening text or email to the police. The school district did not name the Dark Overlord in the statement, but after school officials contacted the Montana school district that was attacked, Columbia Falls Superintendent Steve Bradshaw said, \u201cThey believe the case is similar.\u201dHackRead reported that, like in Iowa, the details of the Texas and Montana school hacks were published on Pastebin.AlabamaCrenshaw County Schools in Alabama shut down for two days last week, on Oct.\u00a03 and\u00a0Oct. 4\u00a0after the FBI notified the school about a \u201cthreatening social media post.\u201d It seems unlikely to be related, as there was no mention of parents receiving threatening text messages or of The Dark Overlord, but an article from the hack in Montana suggested it was a similar incident.If a person threatens you, that\u2019s one thing. But if a person threatens your kids, that\u2019s an entirely different matter. Schools had better get on it and batten down the security hatches because there is no excuse for their lax security. There may be limited money in the budget for security solutions, but they can at least keep devices patched. If the threat of being hit with ransomware doesn\u2019t prod school districts to clean up their sloppy security, let\u2019s hope protecting kids and their parents from threats will.