WGRZ reports that Erie Community College was targeted by a ransomware attack early on July 22nd. The coordinated attack on the college computer systems targeted some of the staff computers which received messages that their computers had been hacked and that they needed to go to a third party website to restore their computer service. A release from Erie Community College states “Our Information Technology Services (ITS) team took immediate defensive measures to mitigate damage to the College’s data systems and shut down major portions of the College’s network early this morning.” The college is currently investigating the attack and has yet to determine whether any data was affected by the attack. The release issued by the college states that they “have also been in contact with the necessary federal and local resources to assist with this investigation.”
Ransomware is the name assigned to a type of malware that encrypts the attacked victim’s files. After encrypting the data, there is usually a ransom demand made by an attacker which, if met, will provide the victim with access to their data. Ransomware costs vary and are usually made payable to the cybercriminal in a form of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. Ransomware can find its way into various systems just like any other form of malware, such as via phishing attacks, where a user is tricked into downloading and opening a file that looks legitimate but is actually malware in disguise.
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Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology