A California-based nursing school has been attacked by ransomware about three months ago and the incident has just been made public.
Nursing School Victim Of Ransomware
According to CSO Online, an instructor at Gurnick Academy was literally locked out if his classroom when he noticed the files with his lectures were encrypted. The entire school might have been in the same situation if it wasn't for a quick acting IT department.
The IT technicians managed to prevent the encryption from spreading after noticing the incident at the early stage. The infected device was disconnected from the corporate network.
However, for the instructor who was met with a ransomware note demanding 1 bitcoin or $740 in exchange for the files to be decrypted it was already too late. He needed to redo some of his work and lost some recently created files. He also was not able to work on his PC during the few hours needed to reinstall the OS and configure everything.
The malware is believed to be originated on the instructor's personal computer. or elsewhere. The data lost comprises personal data, presentations, and lecturers. However, the security breach did not end there. The instructor also replicated all encrypted files to the Google Drive, as he had Google Drive sync running.
Similar Incidents During The Past Year
The past year, ransomware has seemed to become a lucrative industry, affecting police departments, schools, and healthcare institutions. Ransomware such as CryptoLocker are trojans that work like viruses. They can be unleashed even by hackers with few technical skills.
According to Los Angeles Times, FBI sources disclosed that, in the first three months of 2016 alone, victims nationwide lost more than $209 million in ransomware payments. This is a step increase, compared with $25 million in all of 2015.
For this reason, there is a broad support from lawmakers and tech leaders calling for state legislation to outlaw ransomware. In the state of California, a bill authored by state Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) aims to update the penal code, making the use of ransomware a felony.