Universities, Florida court system hit in ransomware outbreakPosted On: Feb. 8, 2023 10:36 AM CST
(Reuters) — A global ransomware outbreak has scrambled servers belonging to Florida's Supreme Court and several universities in the United States and Europe, according to a Reuters analysis of ransom notes posted online to stricken servers.
Those organizations are among more than 3,800 victims of a fast-spreading digital extortion campaign that locked up thousands of servers in Europe over the weekend, according to figures tallied by Ransomwhere, a crowdsourced platform that tracks digital extortion attempts and online ransom payments and whose figures are drawn from internet scans.
Ransomwhere did not name individual victims, but Reuters was able to identify some by looking up internet protocol address data tied to the affected servers via widely used internet scanning tools such as Shodan.
The extent of the disruption to the affected organizations, if any, was not clear.
A Florida Supreme Court spokesman told Reuters that the affected infrastructure had been used to administer other elements of the Florida state court system and that it was segregated from the Supreme Court’s main network.
"Florida Supreme Court's network and data are secure," the spokesman said, adding that the rest of the state court system's integrity also was not affected.
A dozen universities contacted by Reuters, including the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Rice University in Houston and institutions of higher learning in Hungary and Slovakia, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Reuters also contacted the hackers via an account advertised on their ransom notes but only received a payment demand in return. They did not respond to additional questions.
Ransomwhere said the cybercriminals appear to have extorted only $88,000, a modest haul by the standard of multimillion-dollar ransoms regularly demanded by some hacking gangs.