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The Cégep de Saint-Félicien was reimbursed for the costs incurred by a major cyberattack.
Marie-Maude Denis (Consult the profile)Marie-Maude Denis
At first glance, it is the image of a group of colleagues who have just won the million in the lottery.
However, this check for $999,239 held by the director of the Cégep de Saint-Félicien and its IT manager constitutes the reimbursement of the expenses that this establishment had to incur to remedy the ransomware attack launched by one of the worst Canadian computer hackers, Gatineau resident Sébastien Vachon-Desjardins.
In an interview at
EnquêteA year ago, Sylvie Prescott recounted how this attack paralyzed her CEGEP at the start of the 2020 school year when the staff was already exhausted by managing the repercussions of the pandemic.
Although a majority of victims choose to pay cybercriminals to recover their valuable computer data, Ms. Prescott decided, on principle, that was out of the question. For weeks, Cégep employees worked with experts from a specialized firm to rebuild the establishment's computer network.
A police investigation by the FBI and the RCMP revealed that this fraud had been committed by the criminal organization NetWalker, a collective of computer hackers. Among them, Gatineau resident Sébastien Vachon-Desjardins, who extorted more than $30 million in just one year and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Florida a year ago. Vachon-Desjardins had been recruited by this criminal organization while he worked during the day as a civil servant for the federal government in Ottawa.
The reimbursement received by this cégep du Lac-Saint-Jean almost three years after the attack corresponds to a portion of the bitcoins which were seized and resold by the authorities to reimburse some of the Canadian victims of the cyberattacks.
The director of Cégep de Saint-Félicien explains that the amounts received cover the costs of computer experts and the credit monitoring program for her students by Equifax. Other legal proceedings are underway in the United States to distribute the rest of the millions seized from Sébastien Vachon-Desjardins in Gatineau among victims around the world.
Marie-Maude Denis (View profile)Marie-Maude DenisFollow