Golf tournaments are the latest sector to be hit by a hacking attack in an increasingly dangerous era of cybercrime. The Professional Golfers Association (PGA) servers were hacked two days before the competition took place on August 9th, though the event is ongoing.
PGA server files locked in hacking attack
Due to the hacking attack, tournament officials have been locked out of key files relating to the Missouri tournament as well as the upcoming Ryder Cup in France. Officials received the following messages on the site –
“Your network has been penetrated. All files on each host in the network have been encrypted with a strong algorithm.”
“We exclusively have decryption software for your situation. No decryption software is available in the public.”
Officials were first alerted on Tuesday, two days before the start of the tournament, when the messages started popping up on screen. The story was first disclosed on GolfWeek.
This year has seen an incredible increase in cyber-crime of all kinds. Universities and hospitals have been hit with mining malware, as have big sites such as YouTube. Cryptocurrency malware is up 629% since 2017. Cryptojacking is a new type of crime where the host PC is used to mine cryptocurrency, unbeknownst to the owner.
In China, high-level criminal organizations have created sophisticated heists involving hardware maintenance companies and internet cafes. The PGA servers are the latest in a long series of creative crime involving cryptocurrency. Additionally, there is a current shortage of security experts given the increase in the number of attack vectors.
In this case, the hackers have given a bitcoin wallet address that the funds are to be deposited into. They also sent an email to the PGA, communicating that they would decrypt two files of their choice. The PGA has indicated that they do not negotiate with criminals. IT specialists have been brought in for assistance with the hacking attack. The PGA has likely been hit with the BitPaymer ransomware.
Meanwhile, the prestigious event is set to finish on August 12th with a purse of USD 10,500,000. Going into the final day on August 12th, Brooks Koepka leads at 12 under, while Jordan Spieth has complained about the conditions and has had a poor tournament thus far.
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