Ransomware attacks hit indiscriminately and sometimes they may affect charitable organizations that can’t afford to surrender to the demand. Auburn Food Bank in King County, Washington, fell victim to a ransomware strain known as GlobeImposter 2.0, which encrypted all computers on their network.
Only one machine escaped the attack and is currently used to maintain charity activity.
Not paying the ransom
Auburn Food Bank is a nonprofit entity that distributes free food to families and individuals in the Auburn School District boundaries.
It is unclear how the hackers were able to get into their network, but the incident occurred on June 5, around 2:00 AM, when there was no one in the office.
Auburn Food Bank Director Debbie Christian told BleepingComputer that they did not give in to the ransom demand and wiped all affected systems, including the email server. The plan is to rebuild the network and any files that they lost.
GlobeImposter is distributed through affiliates and the ransom demands vary according to who is leveraging it. There is no decryption available for this strain and victims need to contact the crooks to find out how much they have to pay. Some demands may be as high as 1.2 bitcoins (around $9,500 at current market value).
To gain the trust of the victim, the criminals offer to decrypt one file for free. They may also offer a discount to tempt a payment but the file decryption key is not delivered afterwards. Instead, they ignore the original agreement and ask for double or even three times the money.
Christian did not even try to find out how much the attackers were asking in exchange of the decryption key. This is recommended in ransomware attacks because there is no guarantee that the crooks would provide the decryption service once they get the money.
How you can help
In the case of Auburn Food Bank the estimates for replacing the impacted equipment is $8,000 and as a charitable organization with limited funds, they need help for this.
“Not to pay the ransom, but to pay for the expense of recreating our computer system. We don’t have this kind of money budgeted and we are at the end of our fiscal year and heading into summer when money is already tighter,” Christian said.
Those wishing to contribute to rebuilding Auburn Food Bank’s computer network can do so by donating through this Network for Good form, which accepts offerings of any value.
You can choose to make it a one-time donation or a monthly, quarterly, or annual one; and there is the possibility to make it anonymously, without sharing contact info, or name and address with the charity.
Another way to help is to lend time or skills by working at the food bank or from home.
“If a person can type, we have tons of forms that need to be recreated, [in both] Word and Excel,” said Christian. “Jobs can be done at home and saved to a thumb drive and returned to us,” she added.
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