Hacker threatens to release UFV student information if not paid ransom

Threats to release students’ personal information

A hacker is trying to extort a $30,000 ransom from the University of the Fraser Valley by claiming to hold students’ personal information hostage.

On Monday morning, an email was sent to dozens of students containing the personal information of 29 UFV students, including their names, phone numbers, home addresses and grade and course information. One student’s “limited financial information” was included, according to UFV spokesperson Dave Pinton.

The school is working individually with those 29 students to secure their privacy and personal information, Pinton said.

The email threatened to release more students’ personal information if he or she wasn’t paid $30,000 within 48 hours.

Pinton said he could not comment on whether the school would consider paying the ransom.

“UFV is working closely with the appropriate authorities, including the police, an external investigator, and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia,” he said.

The Abbotsford Police Department is working with the school as it investigates the issue, Const. Ian MacDonald confirmed.

The school has temporarily suspended access to web systems and student emails, in an effort to protect private information.

A notice on the student email sign-in page says the service will be unavailable until at least 5 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 6.

“UFV takes the responsibility of protecting the privacy of our employees and students very seriously,” he said. “We regret that this has occurred and we are working to ensure these systems are secure and the impacted students receive the support and resources they require today and going forward.”


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