#CyberFLASH: Carleton University says it didn’t pay hacker’s ransom after cyberattack

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Carleton University confirms its IT network was attacked by ransomware — a type of computer virus that uses encryption to effectively hold files hostage in exchange for payment — but said it didn’t pay any ransom.

Systems are coming back online little by little after the problem appeared Tuesday morning, Roseann O’Reilly Runte told CBC News on Wednesday.

Classes are happening as regularly scheduled and Wi-Fi is available on campus, she said.

No ransom was paid, according to university spokesperson Don Cumming.

The university is expected to make a statement at 4 p.m. ET.

A graduate student at the university emailed CBC Tuesday to say the attackers asked for payment in bitcoin, a digital currency that is difficult to trace. According to a message he saw on a school computer, the attackers are asking for either two bitcoin per machine, or 39 bitcoin total to release the encrypted files — the latter equalling nearly $38,941 at today’s rate on the popular Bitcoin exchange Coinbase.

Students, employees warned Tuesday

On Tuesday morning, students and employees were warned that any Windows-based system accessible from the main network may have been compromised after an external group apparently attempted to hack the school’s IT network.

“To reduce traffic on the network, it is recommended that users refrain from using Microsoft Windows systems at the current time and shut down your computer,” the school warned in a message posted on its website and Facebook page.

On Wednesday, the university’s IT department said work is continuing to restore email services.

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#CyberFLASH: Carleton U warns students of hacker attack on IT network

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Carleton University is warning students and employees after an external group apparently attempted to hack the school’s IT network.

The school warned that any system accessible from the main network that is Windows-based may have been compromised.

The school’s IT security unit is attempting to secure the network from further attacks.

“To reduce traffic on the network, it is recommended that users refrain from using Microsoft Windows systems at the current time and shut down your computer,” the school warned in a message posted on its website and its Facebook page.

Ransomware messages demand bitcoin payments

The school said people may see ransomware messages appear on their screens, demanding payments in bitcoins.

“Users are asked to ignore all messages seeking a payment and are encouraged to report these messages to the CCS Help Desk at ext. 3700 or ccs.service.desk@carleton.ca,” the school said in a statement.

David Kenyi, a volunteer at the International Students Service Office, said he got a push notification on his phone of the system shutdown.

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#CyberFLASH: Carleton professor fights cyberattacks from Orléans

tony-bailetti-cybersecurityBehind locked doors at a municipal building in the Ottawa suburb of Orléans, Tony Bailetti is quietly working on a plan to turn Canada into a global powerhouse for fighting cyberattacks.

The professor is known for nurturing more than 200 companies in his job straddling Carleton University’s business and engineering departments.

These days, he jokes that he practically sleeps at VENUS Cybersecurity, a non-profit hub he created in a former town council office.

Bailetti is preoccupied by much more than malicious software nabbing credit card data from retailers like Target.

His eye is on big intrusions — the idea that cyberattackers could take down power grids and water systems, or remotely take over control of cars from their drivers.

And his goal is to have Canada “playing with the bigger boys and girls” to tackle the global problem of cybersecurity in fewer than five years.

“The people who have investments in critical infrastructure — we will be the go-to guys,” Bailetti said.

‘Bell-Northern Research of cybersecurity’

VENUS Cybersecurity was announced to great fanfare at a press conference at Ottawa’s City Hall in November 2013.

Politicians boasted that VENUS would create much needed jobs in the eastern suburb — and Bailetti has done that, though these are no run-of-the-mill jobs.

He has assembled some two dozen bright minds, many who have PhDs or are graduates of Carleton’s technology innovation management program. Some do research and development. Others conduct tests offsite.

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#CyberFLASH: Cybersecurity incubator to be headquartered in Ottawa suburb

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Venus to address threats posed by cyberattacks with goal of making Canada a global leader in field

 

OTTAWA – A business incubator to foster the country’s cybersecurity industry will be headquartered in a suburb of Ottawa, the city announced Tuesday.

Venus Cybersecurity Corporation — Virtual Environment for Networks of Ubiquitous Security — is a non-profit collaboration between Carleton University, Communications Security Establishment Canada, the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, the province, the city and Telus.

They are each investing up to $250,000 in cash and/or in-kind services, with the goal of making Canada a global leader in cybersecurity.

Initially, the venture will create about 25 jobs in Orleans, an east Ottawa suburb.
 
“While Ottawa’s west end continues to develop computer programs, the east end will ensure their security,” said Ottawa-Orleans MP Royal Galipeau in a news release. “The arrival of Venus in Orleans, combined with the coming arrival of Communications Security Establishment Canada to the east end, and the proximity of the National Research Council of Canada, will make Ottawa’s east end a leader in the important field of cybersecurity. This cutting-edge expertise is important for the whole country.”

The corporation “will seek to address the threat posed by cyberattacks, including disrupting critical infrastructure, stealing intellectual property, identity theft, compromising online bank accounts, posting confidential information, creating and distributing viruses and encrypting systems to demand ransom,” according to a news release.

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