Update: Dutch research funding agency, paralyzed by ransomware attack, refuses to pay up

Martin Enserink reports:

Hackers published a batch of internal documents from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) on the dark web yesterday, after the agency refused to pay up in a ransomware attack. The attack, which began on 8 February, has completely knocked out the agency’s grant application and review process and cut off NWO’s communication with applicants, grantees, and universities.

Ransomware attacks on organizations, companies, and even hospitals have become increasingly common, and some institutions have decided that paying is the easiest way to get computer systems back up or prevent the release of confidential data. NWO refused to do so. “On fundamental grounds, NWO, as part of the Dutch governmental institutions, isn’t willing to pay ransom,” the agency said in a statement yesterday.

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