The PGA of America has been locked out of important computer files this week after an attack by unidentified hackers, according to a report from Golfweek. The golf organization was taken down on Tuesday morning, when an attempt to open certain files led to a message saying, “Your network has been penetrated. All files on each host in the network have been encrypted with a strong algorythm [sic].”
What was in those files that made them so irresistible to cybercriminals? Logos. From the report:
The files contained creative materials for the PGA Championship at Bellerive and next month’s Ryder Cup in France. That includes extensive promotional banners and logos used in digital and print communications, and on digital signage around the grounds at Bellerive. The stolen files also include development work on logos for future PGA Championships. Some of the work began more than a year ago and cannot be easily replicated.
The hackers reportedly sent an email from an encrypted address offering to decrypt two files as proof of their powers, and also sent along a bitcoin wallet number. However, Golfweek says that no specific ransom amount was asked for.
So far the PGA has reportedly taken a “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” stance. But given the age demographics of golfers, it’s possible they just don’t know how to get bitcoin.