San Francisco

UCSF Taken for $1M by Hacker Group

Remember when I told you that hackers have no shame?

The University of California San Francisco (UCSF), a leader in Covid-19 research, has stated that they paid over a million dollars to the hacker gang known as “The Netwalker” at the beginning of this month.

The University was far from forthcoming about it, though, and only admitted to it after a whistleblower came forward to the BBC with actual live chats.  UCSF, however, is not the only university to have been breached, and they are definitely not the only university to pay the ransom, even against the advice of the FBI.  In fact, Netwalker has taken responsibility for at least two other college ransomware attacks in as many months.

The hackers at first asked for $3M, but a “UCSF representative” (who, in all reality, was probably an outside negotiator) was able to talk them down to just over $1M, and transferred 116.4 bitcoins to the electronic wallet of the cyber criminals.

Fortunately for UCSF, the decryption key worked, and they were able to decrypt their files.  They are also actively working with the FBI to investigate the case

While we currently don’t know how the university was compromised in the first place, what we can tell you is that this is extremely common, and that if you are successfully breached?  It will only hurt everyone in the long run if you pay the ransom.

That being said, two of the most effective ways to avoid paying a ransom to hackers are to:


Not getting hacked is easier said than done.  A great way to start securing your company is by following our Remote Security Checklist, which you can download free online.  We also recommend staff training and awareness.

If you aren’t sure how secure you are?  You probably have a lot of work to do.  Call us at 919-422-2607, and we will be glad to talk to you about the cyber security needs of your business; or schedule a free consultation online.

And remember… HACKERS HAVE NO SHAME.  Stay safe out there.

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