The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) paid a ransom of $1.14 million in Bitcoin after a ransomware attack earlier this month, reported BBC News.
The Netwalker criminal gang is believed to be behind the hack which was also linked to at least two other ransomware attacks on universities in the past two months. Michigan State University was one of them that was attacked by Netwalker earlier this month, but they refused to pay the hacker.
Hackers demanded $3 million from UCSF but an external specialist negotiator begged them to accept $780,000, citing the coronavirus pandemic to be “financially devastating.”
After a day of negotiations, UCSF came up with the final offer of $1,140,895, and the next day, 116.4 bitcoins were transferred to Netwalker's electronic wallets.
“The data that was encrypted is important to some of the academic work we pursue as a university serving the public good,” said UCSF. As such, they decided to pay a portion of the ransom in exchange for a tool to unlock the encrypted data.
After receiving the decryption software, UCSF is now assisting the FBI with the investigation.