Venus Ransomware is Hitting Publicly Exposed RDP Connections

The officials from the University of Utah has announced about a ransomware incident and eventually paid more than $457,000 ransom to the hackers. The attack has impacted the sensitive data belonging to a few students and employees, thus the University officials considered paying to avoid leaking the data by hackers.

The University of Utah Attacked by a Ransomware

Colleges and universities have been a reasonable target for hackers since they’re vested with sensitive data and adequate funds to pay. Thinking of such, the University of Utah was recently attacked by a ransomware group, who had stolen data and encrypted the computers.

More specifically, the College of Social and Behavioral Science, a wing of the University has been attacked on July 19th 2020. The university has revealed the incident earlier this week and said about 0.02% data was encrypted by the hackers after stealing the data. The information being exfiltrated belongs to students and employees of the University.

Though the officials were successful in recovering the encrypted data from backups, they had still decided to pay the ransom, about $457,059.24. This step was reasoned as a “proactive and preventive step to ensure information was not released on the internet.” The amount was partly covered by the Cyber Insurance Policy and the University, where it said the amount wasn’t taken from tuition fee, grants, donations, state or taxpayers funds.

After all, this agreement isn’t viable as per many security researchers, since a mere promise from an attacker couldn’t be trusted. The hacker has plenty of options to exploit the data, from leaking to selling or using for impersonation attacks like phishing attacks. It’s advisable for the victims to monitor their accounts for any fraudulent activities and change passwords of online accounts.

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  1. This isn’t surprising at all since the backend tech at educational institutions is usually so far out of date you’re left shaking your head. They seem to never have the “budget” to update anything or pay the tech staff a decent salary, which causes people to resort to taking shortcuts.


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