University gets cyber ransom money back – with interest

It was reported on Saturday 2 July that a Dutch university that fell victim to a massive ransomware attack has received back part of its stolen money, which in the meantime more than doubled in value, reports Al Arabiya.

The southern Maastricht University was hit in 2019 by a large cyberattack in which criminals used ransomware, a type of malicious software that locks valuable data and can only be accessed once the victim pays a ransom amount. “The criminals had encrypted hundreds of Windows servers and backup systems, preventing 25,000 students and employees from accessing scientific data, library and mail,” the daily de Volkskrant said. The hackers demanded €200,000 (US$202,340) in bitcoin.

“After a week the university decided to accede to the criminal gang’s demand,” the paper said.
“This was partly because personal data was in danger of being lost and students were unable to take an exam or work on their theses,” it said. Dutch police traced part of the ransom paid to an account belonging to a money launderer in Ukraine. Prosecutors in 2020 seized this man’s account, which contained a number of different cryptocurrencies including part of the ransom money paid by Maastricht.
Full report on the Al Arabiya site