Just before the start of the recent Professional Golf Association [PGA] Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, bad news seemed to be looming over the event. According to reports from Golfweek, hackers have targeted PGA’s computer servers, resulting in PGA’s officials being blocked out from accessing crucial information related to this week’s Championship.
The servers in question included numerous PGA banners, logos, signage and year-long rework of old logos and banners that cannot be replicated easily. In addition to hacking crucial information regarding the aforementioned golf championship, the hackers were also able to get hold of files regarding the upcoming Ryder Cup in France.
On Tuesday, the officials at PGA realized that their systems have been jeopardized. An anonymous message was left behind, which said:
“Your network has been penetrated. All files on each host in the network have been encrypted with a strong algorythm [sic].”
The message further threatened to erase all the data if they tried to work a way around:
“Any attempt to break the encryption could cause the loss of all of the work. This may lead to the impossibility of recovery of certain files,”
The hackers have stated their motive by providing a Bitcoin wallet address. However, no specific ransom amount was demanded. Since Bitcoin wallets are not particularly linked to a person or entity, it cannot be used to identify suspects.
The hackers wrote:
“We exclusively have decryption software for your situation. No decryption software is available in the public.”
Golfweek reported that as of Wednesday afternoon, the PGA officials had still not regained full access of their systems. Also, reports state that the hacking is not believed to have impacted the PGA Championship yet. IT experts are frantically trying to resolve the situation and ensure that the tournament remains unaffected.
The source of the hacking still remains unknown to the investigators. An anonymous source from the PGA of America said that the association does not intend to meet any extortion demands, and could speak no further because they were not authorized to speak on the subject.