Valley College, a Los Angeles Community College was the subject of a recent ransomware attack. The ransomware encrypted thousands of vital files on New Year’s Eve. The information belonging to approximately two thousand staff and twenty thousand students was at risk.
The Valley Star, the college’s newspaper reported that the cyber attackers left a ransom note on the server directed to school officials stating, “You have 7 days to send us the BitCoin after 7 days we will remove your private keys and it’s impossible to recover your files.”
Valley College was forced to comply with the ransom demand of approximately $30,000 because they had not backed up the sensitive files. In an official report by the Los Angeles Community College District, their statement was “in consultation with district and college leadership, outside cybersecurity experts and law enforcement, a payment was made by the District. It was the assessment of our outside cybersecurity experts that making a payment would offer an extremely high probability of restoring access to the affected systems, while failure to pay would virtually guarantee that data would be lost.”
Cybersecurity experts and law enforcement are still in the infancy of the investigation, but there has been no personal data breach identified at this point. This is one of many instances of ransomware being randomly placed in systems. A similar instance was in Los Angeles’ US Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, the hospital was forced to divvy out approximately seventeen thousand dollars to restore the patient files and medical test results.