University of California (UCSF) Sends 116.4 Bitcoin to Hackers

The University of California located at San Francisco, School of Medicine (UCSF) was a target of a ransomware attack by hackers and as a result the UCSF had to pay 116.4 BTC ($1.14 million) in order for their compromised data to be released by the hackers.

University of California Sends 116.4 Bitcoin to hackers
Source: UCSF.EDU

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According to a report from CBS San Francisco, the incident was detected by the IT staffs of USCF on June 1 and the attack affected a limited number of isolated servers in the School of Medicine.

Which data did the hackers access?

The hackers were able to gain access to some isolated data servers from the university’s overall internal network by using encrypted malware which hide their identities and left the servers inaccessible. The server accessed by the hackers contained data of some sensitive research materials of the USCF’s work on medical studies and other uncategorized areas.

The University of California said:

The data that was encrypted is important to some of the academic work we pursue as a university serving the public good. We, therefore, made the difficult decision to pay some portion of the ransom, approximately $1.14 million, to the individuals behind the malware attack in exchange for a tool to unlock the encrypted data and the return of the data they obtained.

Ransom paid in Bitcoin

BBC News report states that the hackers initially demanded a ransom of $1.5 million but the university requested them to reduce the amount to $780,000. The offer by the university was however rejected, the hackers made known they will only accept $1.5 million.

UCSF later made a final offer of $1,140,895 which was accepted by the hackers. Within the next day a ransom payment of 116.4 Bitcoin ($1,140,895) was sent to the hackers’ crypto wallet and in return the hackers sent a tool with which the university will use to unlock the encrypted data.