Colleges and universities have been the targets of a series of ransomware attacks this year, many of which perpetrated by the NetWalker (Mailto) ransomware gang. Their latest target, Michigan State University, has been issued a week to pay up.
According to ZDNet, the gang has threatened to leak stolen documents from the university’s network.
More from ZDNet:
NetWalker operators have already published five images on the site to support their claims. These include two images showing a directory structure allegedly from the university’s network, a passport scan for a student, and two scans of Michigan State financial documents.
The NetWalker group is one of the twelve ransomware gangs that manage “leak sites” where they threaten to publish data in revenge against companies that refuse to pay the file decryption fees.
The damage on MSU’s internet IT network is unclear, as students and most employees have been sent home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and internal systems may not impact the university’s ability to hold virtual classes.
A similar attack — assumed unrelated to the NetWalker gang — was discovered on Illinois Valley Community College servers. That attack was discovered when the email system and website stopped functioning properly. The school set up an alternative email server for students to communicate with professors and classmates.
Resources for preventing college ransomware attacks:
- Tools and Tips to Protect Your Organization from Ransomware
- NeuShield’s Anti-Ransomware Solution Protects Files From Encryption
- New Bedford Avoids Paying $5 Million in Ransomware Attack by Doing Something Unusual
- When Its Worth It to Pay Up in Some Ransomware Attacks