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Michigan State says it won't pay ransom to hacker

June 4, 2020
The university says cyberthieves breached computers in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Michigan State University says it will not pay a ransom demanded by a hacker threatening to publish financial documents and personal information stolen from the university. 

The Lansing State Journal reports that MSU still is investigating what was compromised during a Memorial Day breach and will notify those who might be affected.

The university says in a news release that it is heeding the guidance of its law enforcement partners and not paying the ransom.

“It is important to remember that these are criminal acts being carried out by individuals seeking nothing more than an opportunity to earn a quick buck at any person or entity’s expense,” says MSU Police Chief Kelly Roudebush. “Paying cyber-intrusion ransoms perpetuates these crimes and provides an opportunity for the group to live another day and prey upon another victim."

The intrusion affected the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The university took the affected servers and work stations offline to prevent any further exposure.

“First and foremost, our priority is determining what information was compromised and then working with anyone who may have been affected to provide them with the appropriate support,” says MSU Chief Information Officer Melissa Woo.

EdScoop reported the ransomware attack last week and provided screenshots from a blog on the dark web, showing what appear to be a student's passport, MSU financial documents and files from the MSU network.

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