Privacy watchdog denounces ‘condoning’ hackers by KNVB: ‘Are criminals, crooks’ 07:06 in Tech, Football Aleid Wolfsen, chairman of the privacy watchdog Dutch Data Protection Authority, is clear about the hacker group that has data in the hands of the KNVB. "They are criminals, they are crooks, who commit very serious crimes."

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Chairman Aleid Wolfsen of the Dutch Data Protection Authority
NOS Football

It was not a good choice for the KNVB to pay ransoms to cyber criminals. This is what Aleid Wolfsen (photo), chairman of the privacy watchdog Dutch Data Protection Authority, said on Tuesday evening at Langs de Lijn En Omstreek.

Although Wolfsen also understands the dilemma “that everyone who is hacked faces”, he is also very clear about the choice of the Dutch Football Association.

“There was an atmosphere today that hackers are often decent and reliable people, with whom you can do business properly and make agreements with. Then they guarantee that the data will not be made public. No, they are criminals, They are criminals who commit very serious crimes, blackmail you, hold you hostage, demand ransom.”

1 million euros

The association announced that the KNVB had paid a ransom to cyber criminals in an advertisement in two national newspapers and in a message, in which they warned people that their data may be in the hands of those criminals. The hackers are said to have had access to, among other things, private data of players of the Dutch national team.

The association says that paying the ransom was a difficult choice, but that agreements were ultimately made with the hackers “under expert guidance.” According to RTL Nieuws, the demand from hacker group LockBit was more than 1 million euros. The KNVB does not want to say how much money is involved.

The association is not yet completely confident that criminals will not distribute the data after receiving the ransom and calls on possible victims to remain extra alert to misuse of their data.

‘Don’t pay’

Wolfsen especially criticizes the “condoning” talk about the hackers. “No, they are criminals,” the chairman of the privacy watchdog Dutch Data Protection Authority clarifies once again. “We want to make the statement: don’t do this, don’t pay.”

“Because by paying, you make them more professional, they become even better, you get even more hacks, even more victims. Then it is encouraged, condoned. We should not do that.”

And according to Wolfsen, you should always be aware that the data will still become public, even if you pay. “In practice, we see that the agreements are not fulfilled, that the data still appears on the dark web. They are not criminals for nothing.”

  • KNVB pays ransom to hackers to protect confidential data
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