The first publicized ransomware attack of 2017 is a hefty one!
After returning to school after the holiday break, Los Angeles Valley College found their computer files were inaccessible. It didn’t take long for the college to determine it was a malicious cyber attack that took down their systems. According to The Washington Times, the school notified students the day after the attack was discovered.
The ransomware variant that took down the college’s files is not being released. However the ransom note, left by the hackers, stated the school had seven days to pay the ransom or their files would be permanently inaccessible.
The Los Angeles Community College District ended up paying the cyber criminals the ransom demand of $28,000 to obtain the decryption key. Now, as we all know, paying the ransom is probably one of the worst things you can do. And there are no promises the decryption key will actually work. However according to officials the key, provided by the hackers, are indeed unlocking the files.
LA Valley College continues to work on decrypting their locked files, as it is a time-consuming process. No reports have been made about additional measures the district or LA Valley College plan to take moving forward to prevent future attacks.
PC Matic encourages all PC users, both home and business, to implement a security solution that includes application whitelisting. This solution prevents malware, including ransomware, from executing on computers by only allowing tested and deemed trusted applications to run. PC Matic is available for both home and business users, and includes automated application whitelisting technology.
As the year continues to progress, we will maintain a list of all public ransomware attacks in 2017. You can access that list here. We have also created a ransomware map, see below, of the ransomware attacks that have taken place in the U.S. this year.