- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 1, 2020

The George W. Bush Presidential Center was the victim recently of a hack attack that resulted in an undisclosed sum being paid to the perpetrator, the organization announced Friday.

Unencrypted data involving the Bush Center’s donors, including names, contact information and contribution history, was compromised during a May security breach, the organization said on its website.

The donor data was stolen during an attack suffered by Blackbaud, a third-party data management service used by the Bush Center, but has supposedly since been destroyed.

“Blackbaud informed us that it paid a ransom to the attackers in order to obtain confirmation that the ‎compromised unencrypted information has been destroyed,” the Bush Center said in a statement.

“To date, there ‎is no indication that any of the compromised unencrypted information is subject to further disclosure or misuse‎, and given the intent of the criminals to obtain the payment of the ransom, the Bush Center does not ‎believe there is a high risk that the unencrypted information would be used for other purposes,” the statement said.

Blackbaud acknowledged compensating whoever stole the data but stressed the worst of the breach was likely behind them.

“Based on the nature of the incident, our research, and third party (including law enforcement) investigation, we have no reason to believe that any data went beyond the cybercriminal, was or will be misused; or will be disseminated or otherwise made available publicly,” Blackbaud said in a separate statement. “We apologize that this happened and will continue to do our very best to supply help and support as we and our customers jointly navigate this cybercrime incident.

Social Security numbers of donors were stolen as well, according to the Bush Center. That data was encrypted, however, and the decryption keys needed to decipher it was stored separately and not stolen, the center said.

Opened in 2013, the Bush Center is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University near Dallas, Texas. The complex contains a museum as well as Mr. Bush’s presidential library.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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