(CMR) A major data security breach at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Jamaica could cost the institution millions of dollars after hackers encrypted accounting and other files and demanded payment for their release.
According to the Gleaner, on Thursday, hackers asked for thousands of US dollars, but Byron Buckley, NCU's director of corporate communications, marketing, and public relations, would not confirm the ransom demand.
“NCU is not agreeing to pay any ransom if asked,” he told The Gleaner.
The ransomware, which occurred last Thursday sometime after 6 p.m., was discovered the following day by an employee who raised the alarm.
Ransomware is a malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.
“Some administrative processes were affected, like some of our accounting … . Basic working files to get your work done were made inaccessible,” Buckley said, adding that the external backup for those files failed.
Buckley told The Gleaner that all on-campus information technology-related activities had been suspended, adding that the data breach had been reported to the Jamaica Cyber Incident Response Team (JaCIRT).
“They are now doing what they would usually do in terms of perhaps alerting international and other law enforcement to pursue who the hackers are,” he said.
Tech security company Dark Tracer, a profile investigation platform, listed NCU among the top 20 leaked .jm domains, ranking the university fifth.