Hackers Target PGA with Ransomware, Demand Bitcoin


Hackers have attacked the servers of the PGA with ransomware, demanding that the golf association pay Bitcoin to release encrypted files.


When one thinks of the PGA, it’s usually of lush green courses, Tiger Woods, and funny clothes. However, the online menace of hackers has now impacted the pro golf association by attacking the group’s servers with ransomware. Important files have been locked away unless a ransom in bitcoins is paid.

Ransomware a Digital Sand Trap for the PGA

It was on Tuesday morning when employees of the PGA of America found that they were locked out of some very important files. Hackers had hit the servers with ransomware and left behind an ominous warning.

When workers tried to access the files, they received the following message:

Your network has been penetrated. All files on each host in the network have been encrypted with a strong algorythm [sic].

The hackers added that the files would be lost if attempts were made to get past the encryption. They said:

This may lead to the impossibility of recovery of certain files.

Hack Occurs at Really Bad Time

The ransomware attack on the PGA comes at a really bad time. The files locked up contain creative materials for the PGA Championship, which is happening this weekend at Bellerive, and for the Ryder Cup, which takes place next month in France. The materials include promotional logos and banners to be used in media advertising, as well as work being done on logos for future PGA Championships. The association says that some of the work locked away started more than a year ago and such materials are extremely hard to replace.

The hackers are demanding a ransom in bitcoins, although they have not disclosed the amount they wish. They did send along a Bitcoin wallet address. The hackers also offered to unlock two of the files to show their “honest intentions.”

As of now, the PGA, unofficially, says that they have no plans to meet the demands of the ransomware attackers. The hack has not impacted the PGA Championship so far, but the association still has not been able to retake control of their servers.

Sadly, ransomware attacks continue. Businesses and government agencies around the world have been hit. While most attacks seem to be done by criminals, some national governments have used them too. The most recent example is Iran, which security experts say is behind a new wave of such hacks in order to ease the effects of new U.S. sanctions.

Have you been the victim of a ransomware attack? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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