The University of Utah revealed that they were attacked by a ransomware on July 19, 2020 and they had to pay a ransom of $457,000 to prevent threat actors from releasing files stolen during the attack.
The university’s College of Social and Behavioral Science (CSBS) was notified by the university’s Information Security Office (ISO) of a ransomware attack on its CSBS computing servers. As part of the attack, the threat actors stole unencrypted data before encrypting computers.
The university staffs restored the data from backups; but, the ransomware gang threatened to release student-related data online.
The university decided to pay the ransom to prevent the student and employee information which was included in the stolen data, from being leaked.
The University stated in their data security incident notification that they have decided to work with its cyber insurance provider to pay a fee to the ransomware attacker. It was done as a proactive and preventive step to ensure information was not released on the internet.
The university’s cyber insurance policy paid a ransom of $457,059.24 and no “tuition, grant, donation, state or taxpayer funds were used to pay the ransom.”
However, the university did not reveal which ransomware gang was behind the attack.
As this incident is also a data breach, the threat actors might also use the stolen data for their own purposes, such as identity theft and phishing attacks against students and employees.
So, it is strongly suggested that all students and employees in the College of Social and Behavioral Science (CSBS) must monitor their credit history for fraudulent activity and change any passwords.
Image Credits : The Daily Utah Chronicle