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Dutch university gets back cyber ransom money with interest



A Dutch university that has been the victim of a major ransomware attack has recovered partially stolen money…

In 2019 Southern Maastricht University was hit by a major cyber attack in which criminals used ransomware, a type of malicious software that locks valuable data and is accessed only after the victim has paid a ransom amount. can go.

“The criminals had encrypted hundreds of Windows servers and backup systems, preventing 25,000 students and staff from accessing scientific data, libraries and mail,” the daily De Volkskrantz said.

The hackers demanded 200,000 euros (about Rs 1.6 crore) in bitcoin.

“After a week, the university has decided to accede to the demand of the criminal gang,” the paper said.

“This was partly because there was a risk of personal data being lost and students were unable to take exams or work on their research,” it said.

Dutch police trace part of a ransom paid to the account of a money launderer in Ukraine.

Prosecutors confiscated this man’s account in 2020, which contained several different cryptocurrencies, including ransom money paid by Maastricht.

“When, now more than two years later, it was finally possible to get that money into the Netherlands, the value was increased from 40,000 euros to half a million euros,” the paper said.

Maastricht University will now get back EUR 500,000 (about Rs 4.1 crore).

“This money will not go to a general fund, but to a fund to help financially strapped students,” said Michel Borgers, director of Maastricht University ICT.

De Volkskrante said the investigation into the hackers responsible for the attack on the university is still ongoing.