August 10, 2018 at
Just as the final major golf tournament of the season commences, a malicious attack on PGA of America’s servers has been announced.
Anonymous hackers reportedly utilized ransomware to lock officials out of critical promotional material and other files just in time for the PGA Championship. These files included material intended for banner production and use online relating to current and future PGA tournaments.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is an upcoming form of cyber-terrorism which consists of a software to hijack users’ files and offer them back in return for a money. These crimes have affected individual users and corporations alike, and neither have a sure-fire solution once the computer is infected.
The ransomware attack on PGA of America’s servers is of a particularly nasty variety, known as a cryptoviral extortion attack. This means the cyber-criminals have encrypted the stolen data rendering it not only unusable but also unrecoverable unless the ransom is paid.
The hackers attached an email and a bitcoin wallet address to their ransom note. The address is intended for them to collect their expected ransom, and the email is for PGA officials to send a sample file as confirmation of the hackers’ possession of a decryption algorithm.
It has been claimed that there is no sufficient decryption program available to the public and that any attempt for PGA to personally decrypt their files would result in the permanent loss of necessary data.
PGA of America’s response
The hackers have not yet announced a specific amount for their ransom, but PGA of America allegedly has no intention to meet any demands, which concurs with popular cyber-security recommendations. This is because paying the ransom would not necessarily guarantee the return of the stolen files, and would inspire future similar criminal activities.
Despite these files’ influence towards the expected grandeur of the PGA Championship and the upcoming Ryder Cup in France, a PGA spokesman claims that the championship would not be affected.
The most recent reports state that the hackers still have control over PGA of America’s servers, and the clock is ticking closer to many of those files losing their relevance to the tournament.