A school in California paid hackers over $28,000 in ransom after they became victims of a cyberattack.
The officials decided this was the only way they could get their files back. They explained, “in consultation with district and college leadership, outside cybersecurity experts and law enforcement, a payment was made by the District. It was the assessment of our outside cybersecurity experts that making a payment would offer an extremely high probability of restoring access to the affected systems, while failure to pay would virtually guarantee that data would be lost.”
There are other methods to backing up data but once the computer was infected there was nothing else the school could do.
The attack started on December 30, 2016 when the files, email, and messaging systems were seized and held for ransom. The hackers had an agenda and told the school “You have 7 days to send us the BitCoin after 7 days we will remove your private keys and it’s impossible to recover your files,” according to The Valley Star.
The hackers and their ransomware they used have yet to be identified. On the bright side, the attack did not affect winter classes at the college and there is no proof the hackers stole or abused after they were given back.
Once the payment was made, the hackers delivered a ‘key’ to access the files that had been seized. According to the school, “The process to ‘unlock’ hundreds of thousands files will be a lengthy one, but so far, the key has worked in every attempt that has been made.”
Not all hackers will keep their word by giving access back to the victim after the ransom is paid. That is why it is so important to enable automatic updates and keep anti-virus software up to date so hackers can’t get in. If you want to find out ways to protect your PC check out this article.