Data stolen from Montmorency College is being sold on the dark web by hackers who threaten to make it public.
Cyberattack at Montmorency College […] Management should contact us immediately if they want to prevent the full data from being published on our blog,” the cybercriminal group AvosLocker writes in English on the underground internet page.
Although not a clear threat, this group, which is closely monitored by the FBI, usually demands ransoms from the organizations it hacks.
On May 19, Cégep announced that he had been the target of a cyberattack. Police authorities and the government of Quebec notified him earlier this week of the online data sale, as explained in an email yesterday.
To prove its seriousness, the hackers posted on the dark web a sample of 15 files for free download. It also seems possible to contact criminals if you want to buy all the data.
QMI was able to review the sample data. It includes, among other things, communication between employees, plans and accounts. Available elements include the employee’s mobile phone number, email address, and supplier’s signature.
It is not known how confidential the stolen files are, which, according to our conservative estimates, could be in the tens of thousands.
However, “certain personal information on the college’s computer servers may have been compromised,” school spokeswoman Marilyn Doucet confirmed.
In a sign that the risk is real, Cégep has even offered credit file protection to its community.
Ms. Doucet declines to say whether the College plans to pay a possible ransom.
“This aspect of the file is highly confidential and is one of the most important elements of a police investigation,” she wrote. However, a specialized firm hired by Cégep maintains links with the criminal group, she confirms.
buy the world
According to computer expert Eric Parent, college leaders are faced with a delicate dilemma: should the ransom be paid?
“It always depends on the requested amount. If we demand $25,000, I would say pay and buy peace. But it is certain that you have just contributed to the enrichment of criminals.
Theoretically, the fee should deter hackers from releasing the data, according to the CEO of EVA Technologies.
A Montmorency College graduate whose school work was included in a sample of 15 files published by hackers fears that his personal information will end up in the hands of criminals.
“I’m not against school work, but if we are talking about personal information, then yes, I’m worried […] Hackers also have my personal folder with all my information [sensibles]like my social security number?” said Jean-Michel Lemieux, a nutritional graduate, in an interview with QMI.
“I don’t have an answer to this question, and I don’t think I understand it either,” he says. I find it a little confusing.”
If he received emails from the College informing him of the general situation, it was QMI who informed him that one of his works was among the samples on the dark web.
By e-mail, the institution guarantees that it does its best to inform and protect those concerned.
“Based on information available to the College, all those who may have been affected have been offered credit coverage at the expense of the College,” spokeswoman Marilyn Doucet said.
– In collaboration with Philippe Langlois