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University of Pisa held to ransom for $4.5m

The BlackCat ransomware group has claimed responsibility for a cyberattack on the University of Pisa.

The criminals issued a ransom note for Saturday’s attack, giving the university administration until June 16 to pay $4.5 million. This could not come at a worse time for embattled Italy, which already saw another ransomware attack interfere with municipal elections in Palermo.

The victims were given exclusive access to a chat thread on the private browser Tor, used to gain access to the dark web, so they can respond to BlackCat’s ransom demands.

“This amount is required to regain access to files that have been encrypted and thus rendered unusable,” said the note, viewed by CyberSecurity360. BlackCat, also known as ALPHV, has also threatened to disseminate the vital data if it is not paid, a technique known as double or triple extortion.

CyberSecurity360 has contacted the University of Pisa for an official statement regarding the breach, but at the time of writing it has not responded.

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