#CyberFLASH: University of Calgary paid $20K in ransomware attack

10712553The University of Calgary paid a demanded $20,000 after a “ransomware” cyberattack on its computer systems.

The university announced the ransom payment Tuesday, a week after the initial attack.

“As part of efforts to maintain all options to address these systems issues, the university has paid a ransom totalling about $20,000 Cdn that was demanded as part of this ransomware attack,” Linda Dalgetty, vice-president of finances and services, said in a release.

“A ransomware attack involves an unknown cyberattacker locking or encrypting computers or computer networks until a ransom is paid, and when it is, keys, or methods of decryption, are provided,” the release said.

“There is no indication that any personal or other university data was released to the public,” Dalgetty said.

University officials don’t know the source of the ransomware cyberattack, or if it was one person, a group, local or international. There had been one minor data breach at the school, but this attack was different because it encrypted the university’s email server.

“What we do know is that when we first identified the encryption, we did get a ransom note,” said Dalgetty at a news conference on Tuesday. “So that’s how we knew it was ransomware. And we also knew that it was likely someone external who had likely planted that ransomware,” she said.

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