The University of Tor Vergata ended up in the crosshairs of hackers: on Friday, subjects not yet identified entered the Institute's network via a server and began making documents of fundamental importance inaccessible, including those relating to research and therapies. to fight the Sars-Cov-2 virus.
Another type of virus, this one of a computer nature, has allowed the bad guys to reach their goal: the ransomware has encrypted the files stored in the cloud that professors and students access in a few hours. Investigations are ongoing and the typical ransomware attack pattern has not yet ended because the perpetrators have not asked for a ransom.
The first damage report refers to 100 computers available to personnel compromised in the attack; distance teaching tools are also blocked, which never before becomes an essential tool as during the health emergency. Even more worrying are the documents that the hackers managed to encrypt: they ranged from research on molecules that can block the access of coronavirus in human cells, to diagnostic techniques based on artificial intelligence, to the studies on life forms in exoplanets. .
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The rector of the University, Orazio Schillaci, commented:
For now, no ransom has been requested and they do not yet know what they have exfiltrated, but we were able to immediately initiate countermeasures by limiting the damage and activating the restore from the backup, so as not to lose data, research and ensure the continuation of teaching.
As is clear from the statements, the total budget of the attack will take some time. It is not known exactly how many and which documents ended up in the hands of hackers, nor for what purposes. To the aforementioned hypothesis of intrusion for the purpose of extortion is added that of espionage at a stage in which each study on the coronavirus has a potential economic value. In recent weeks, the attacks by Russian hackers aimed at stealing data on the vaccine have been exemplary.
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