Just days before the annual PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) championship tournament their computers were infected by ransomware. Golf Week reported that staff realized the morning of Tuesday August 7th that their computers had been compromised when they saw a message that read “Your network has been penetrated. All files on each host in the network have been encrypted with a strong algorithm”. The message threatened that attempting to break the encryption could cause them to lose all of their data. Keep reading to learn more.
As with most ransomware the main goal was to extort the PGA for money. They encrypted extensive promotional material, including digital signage around the grounds of the course. Further, they encrypted mock ups for logos for future PGA Championships – which are not easy to replicate. The PGA were instructed to deposit the ransom into a Bitcoin wallet, however no specific ransom amount was demanded.
It is speculated that the PGA will not pay the ransom, even though the issue continues to be unresolved and countless files are still encrypted. They’re also no closer to identifying the source of the hacking or how it got onto the computers in the first place.
Luckily the 2018 championship carried on successfully, with Brooks Koepka winning yesterday! So how can we all win when it comes to cybersecurity?
1. Stand up to cybercriminals – don’t pay the ransom! You don’t want to encourage this activity.
2. Keep your devices up-to-date. The longer you go without updating your devices, the more likely there is to be a security vulnerability that hackers can capitalize on.