Maastricht University recovers ransom from hackers with large profit
Maastricht University recently recovered a portion of ransom money it had paid to hackers several years ago. Due to fortunate timing, the amount had increased in value –– from 40,000 euros to half a million euros, De Volkskrant reported.
In 2019, hackers demanded 200,000 euros in bitcoins as ransom from the university after an attack on servers and backup systems, which left students unable to complete schoolwork and jeopardized personal data. The university gave in and paid the ransom after a week.
The Limburg police’s cybercrime team and the Public Prosecution Service (OM) managed to track down part of the ransom, which was in a Ukrainian money launderer’s account. The OM seized the individual’s account in 2020, but it took two years to return the money to the Netherlands.
When the money was finally returned, the cryptocurrency had skyrocketed in value. As a result, Maastricht University received more money back than it paid in ransom at the time. The funds will go to a resource for “ailing students,” ICT director Michiel Borgers told De Volkskrant.