Private information from 29 UFV accounts was emailed to hundreds of other UFV student emails Monday morning. The email demands $30,000, and threatened to release thousands of more accounts’ information should their demand not be met within 48 hours.
The information disclosed from the accounts includes the student’s names, birthdates, personal emails, addresses, and grade point averages. Limited bank information from one of the accounts was also released.
UFV has temporarily suspended the UFV student email system and myUFV portal. In an email sent Tuesday night, Eric Davis, UFV provost and vice-president academic, said that the suspension of these services is expected to continue until 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 6.
The email revealing account information that The Cascade obtained was originally sent from a UFV student email to hundreds of other UFV student emails with first names beginning with letters “Ca.”
After becoming aware of the attack on Monday, UFV individually contacted the students whose private info was disclosed. As a precautionary measure, an email was sent to all faculty, staff, and students Tuesday morning.
In the email, Davis said, “UFV is working diligently with the appropriate authorities, including the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, the police, and external investigators, to determine the source of this information breach.”
Dave Pinton, UFV director of communications said, “We regret this occured, and are working to make sure these systems are secured, and that students receive the support that they need.”
In June 2016, the University of Calgary paid a demanded $20,000 after “ransomware” hijacked their computer systems.
Earlier this year, University College London in England fell victim to a ransomware attack. University staff said it caused a “very substantial disruption.”
A ransomware attack locks or encrypts computer systems and threatens them with damaging software unless a ransom is paid. Though the attack against UFV isn’t ransomware, the cyberattacker has asked for a ransom in exchange for not releasing more information.
A previous version of this story was posted on ufvcascade.ca on October 31st, 2017.