University of Calgary pays $20k for ransomware decryption keys

The University of Calgary was recently infected by ransomware that has affected the institution's systems for the past ten days. As with other ransomware attacks, the university found some of its computers encrypted with demands for payment in order to decrypt the data. Though the university has been working on the matter for several days, it has ultimately had to pay approximately $20,000 CDN to get the decryption keys.

While no personal data or university data has been released publicly, the attack crippled the university's system, for a time having taken down staff and faculty email and more. The university's IT team restored email functionality on June 6; it isn't clear whether this came before or after the university paid out random demands.

The university reported today that it has received decryption keys but is currently evaluating them. The decryption process doesn't appear to have started yet, and the university has stressed to its students and workers that "The actual process of decryption is time-consuming and must be performed with care ... this process will take time."

The university is working with the Calgary Police Service to investigate the cyberattack, and won't release any further details about that investigation because it is currently active. This is the latest in a growing number of high-profile ransomware attacks. Earlier this year, a hospital in California paid about $17,000 to restore its system after an ransomware attack.