Hackers demand bitcoin from PGA in ransomware attack, says report

Even golf isn't safe from ransomware.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou

Ransomware has hit PGA of America.

Wesley Bryan/GoPro

Hackers have hit the links. 

Just to be clear, we're talking about computer hackers, not bad golfers. And they've broken into servers at the PGA of America, locking up marketing materials for the this week's PGA Championship and the upcoming Ryder Cup in France, according to a BBC report.

Possibly envious duffers, the hackers have locked up the PGA computers with ransomware, the software that encrypts computer files until a payment is made. No surprise, the hackers have asked for a payment in bitcoin, according to Golfweek. The publication didn't specify the amount being requested. 

The hackers reportedly left a message warning the PGA staff not to attempt breaking the encryption. "This may lead to the impossibility of recovery of certain files," the warning read, according to Golfweek. "No decryption software is available in the public."

PGA of America didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but a spokesman told the BBC that the PGA Championship won't be affected.

Ransomware isn't uncommon. The City of Atlanta's internal computer systems was held hostage by hackers using ransomware in March. The attack caused outages on several computer systems and crippled more critical services in the city than the city officials had originally realized. 

The City of San Francisco's public transportation was also hacked, disrupting payment systems in 2016.