Revealed: $20,000 paid in Bitcoin as ransom by firm desperate to get its files back

A ransomware hacker has successfully persuaded a Canadian group to stump up a ransom in Bitcoin

by Manoj Sharma for CNR

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) in Canada recently paid Bitcoins worth $20,000 to a ransomware hacker, it’s been revealed.

The FSIN, like many organisations of its ilk, is heavily dependent on technology for its communications. Inevitably, that comes with vulnerabilities, as many hackers seek to find any weakness in the system in order to hold files for ransom. The FSIN in Canada found this out recently during the aforementioned ransomware attack, eventually coughing up and giving the hackers what they want.

According to resources, FSIN’s computer network was breached earlier this year, which gave the hacker access to the email system and internal files. A wide range of data was stolen, including the files on young athletes, as well as a few internal claims. Some of the employees of FSIN lost their health claims, social insurance information, and treaty card numbers as well.

The attack wasn’t noticed until the hacker contacted the staff by himself in May, demanding $100,000 in ransom to give back the information.

The FSIN treasury board and audit committee discussed the issue and came up with many options, including issuing a public statement, contacting the police, or interviewing employees who had their personal information stolen. Apparently, none of the options seemed viable for getting what they needed back. Therefore, the FSIN began negotiating with the hacker, and whittled down the demand of $100,000 to $20,000 in Bitcoins.

The FSIN is staying relatively mum on the matter, but it appears that they have hired a cybersecurity firm. We’ll see what happens next, but there are fears a dangerous precedent has been set.

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