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Ransomware attacks affect three universities in the United States

June 5, 2020

A group of ransomware claims to have has successfully attacked three universities in the past seven days. They say that his last attack was against them University of California, San Francisco or UCSF, 3rd of June.

Cointelegraph had access to the evidence published by NetWalker. a group of hackers on their official dark web blog. In this blog claimed to have stolen confidential data including student names, social security numbers and financial information.

NetWalker threatened to lose data in less than a week if the payment is not made in Bitcoin (BTC). The information concerns the Michigan State University, Columbia College of Chicago and UCSF.

The education sector and ransomware attacks

Ransomware attacks affect three universities in the United StatesRansomware attacks affect three universities in the United States

Michigan State University data was also stolen at the time of printing. The group too threatens to publish student data, countdown counts appears on the NetWalker blog site.

Brett Callows research

Source: Brett Callow Research

Talk to Cointelegraph Brett Callow, threat analyst at the Emsisoft malware laboratory and one of the first experts to discover the massive attack says so Education ransomware attacks are an “enormously harmful and costly problem”.

Trust the latest Emsisoft data indicating that in 2019 At least 89 universities, colleges and school districts were affected by ransomware. He suspects that 1,233 different schools may have been affected.

Callow adds that the trend continues this year At least 30 universities, colleges and school districts have already been affected this year. Regarding the attack on the three American universities, the threat analyst at Emsisoft warned:

“(…) Even if the universities pay, it won’t solve the problem because they will only have a small promise.”

The university that tested COVID-19-related antibodies was attacked

UCSF confirmed to Bloomberg that they were the subject of an “illegal violation” They provided no further details about the attack.

The educational institution is one of the leading universities for antibody testing and clinical trials for possible coronavirus treatments.

Callow informed the education sector about this Systems have to patch quickly, Filter email, turn off PowerShell when you don’t need it, and use MFA wherever it can be used. He adds that adherence to established best practices will do so “significantly reduce the probability that an organization is successfully attacked. “

The Emsisoft analyst commented on the threat level of the recent ransomware attacks:

“Every time a ransom is paid, criminals become more motivated and have better resources. The only way to stop ransomware attacks is to reduce cash flow. This means that companies need to improve their security so that they are unable to pay a ransom. “

Recently, Cointelegraph reported on the latest findings of the 2020 Data Breach Investigation Report by Verizon , as revealed that the education sector was a witness worldwide an increase in ransomware attacks in 2020.