Tuesday 07 April 2020

Maastricht University thought to have paid up to €300,000 to cyber-hackers

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Maastricht University is thought to have paid between €200,000 and €300,000 as a ransom to cyber hackers, reports the Volkskrant.

It is thought the university felt forced to make a payment because its back-up system was hijacked with Clop ransomware alongside the main system, the paper claims.

Before the Christmas break, hackers broke into the computer system and only gave staff the key to get back in after being paid, according to university news website Observant.

The Volkskrant now claims that the back-up was available on university servers and contained personal details from students and staff from years back. The hackers reportedly also blocked financial information, the e-mail system and intranet access on December 23 2019.

A spokesman for the University told DutchNews.nl that the institute ‘cannot confirm any element of the article in the Volkskrant.’

He said the university has organised a symposium to discuss what happened on February 5 and present the results of the investigation into the cyber attack then. ‘Until that moment we will not comment on speculations in the media,’ he said.

According to its earlier press releases, the univeristy took other systems offline, reported the attack to the police and set up a helpline. It has now installed Carbon Black protection software.

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