Computer Systems at Carleton University Shut Down due to Ransomware

Carleton University (Canada, Ottawa, Ontario) students must keep their computers and Wi-Fi routers off because some of the computers at the university are infected with ransomware. The malware uses encryption to lock the files on the system and ask for ransom.

On Tuesday morning, the IT department of the university issued a notification to staff and faculty members citing network issues as the main cause of interrupted accessibility of computer systems.

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According to the computing and communications services department of the school, it is believed that all the systems that are Windows based and accessible from their main network could be compromised.

One of the students got victimized by the ransomware and sent an email to the department informing that the attackers have asked for payment in the untraceable bitcoin currency.

The student saw a message on the computer of the school and realized that the attackers wanted 2 bitcoin per machine or a total of 39 bitcoin in exchange for the decryption key. It must be noted that 39 bitcoin equals CAD $38,941 approx.

All the students have been warned by the school’s administration for reporting the message immediately and to avoid proceeding with the attacker’s demand for ransom.

Steven Reid, Carleton’s media relations officer, told CBC that the concerned department was “trying to sort out the details still,” and that the virus has affected multiple systems but the university is unaware of the severity of the situation as yet.

Therefore, students at the university have been alarmed and asked to keep their computers off and not to use the wireless network of the school at all.

It is noted that the network issues reported by the IT department via Twitter were identified to be impacting the course registration, payroll, admissions and administrative services’ hub of the university called Carleton Central and the email system.

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A Tweet from University about three hours ago confirms that systems are still unavailable including staff and faculty email.

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Due to the issues with the main systems of the university, students and faculty members have to turn to manual ways for going by their day-to-day activities and are using pen and paper for documenting data.

Uzair Amir

I am an Electronic Engineer, an Android Game Developer and a Tech writer. I am into music, snooker and my life motto is 'Do my best, so that I can't blame myself for anything.'