Canadian Underwriter

University of Calgary pays ransom after attack on computer systems

June 8, 2016   by The Canadian Press

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CALGARY – The University of Calgary says it paid a ransom of $20,000 demanded after a recent cyberattack.

ransomwareThe school says in a news release that staff were able to isolate some of the attack and are working to ensure its computer systems are operational.

It says there’s no indication that any personal data was released to the public.

The university also says Calgary police are investigating the “ransomware” case.

Ransomware is malicious software, or “malware,” that encrypts computer data so a person cannot gain access to it until a payment is made.

Related: California hospital president and CEO admits to paying US$17,000 following ransomware attack

The Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre issued a joint alert with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security earlier this year warning about the proliferation of ransomware.

It estimates that there were more than 1,600 ransomware attacks per day in 2015 against Canadians.

“This attack is part of a disturbing global trend of highly sophisticated and malicious malware attacks against organizations including NASA, law enforcement agencies and large health-care institutions,” said the University of Calgary release.

“The university is working with various experts in this field … We thank students, faculty and staff for their tremendous patience and understanding as we continue to work through this very challenging issue.”

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