The cybercriminals behind the latest ransomware attack demanded $ 70 million in ransom

The cybercriminals behind the latest ransomware attack demanded $ 70 million in ransom

In return they promised a key to unlock all systems still infected. The payment must be made in bitcoin

(photo: Unsplash) The gang of cybercriminals that infected an unknown number of companies around the world with a ransomware attack over the weekend demanded $ 70 million in ransom, in bitcoin. In exchange for the payment, he promises a universal decryption key that would allow unlocking locked systems.

This is the hacker group REvil, which according to analysts operates in Russia with the tacit consent of the authorities, and which had already made the protagonist of other attacks of this type such as the one against the giant JBS meat sales at the beginning of June. Criminals had extorted $ 11 million in ransom money since that breach.

REvil, claiming the attack, said its malware, which initially targeted US IT service contractor Kaseya, has hit a million systems. This toll has not been confirmed and the number of victims is still unclear. According to Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola, between 800 and 1,500 companies worldwide are affected. Voccola has not confirmed whether or not his company is negotiating the ransom.

Outside the United States, the most notable hardships have occurred in Sweden - where hundreds of Coop supermarkets have had to close their doors because their cash registers weren't working - and in New Zealand, where 11 schools and several kindergartens were hit.

Research published by cybersecurity firm Eset shows that about a dozen different countries have had organizations affected in some way by the violation.

According to some sources, the criminal group is still negotiating the payment of smaller amounts with individual companies, in addition to the mega-ransom in bitcoin. In this regard, experts have expressed concern at hackers' choice of this digital currency as a ransom currency, instead of other less traceable ones.

US Department of Justice earlier this month announced that it had traced and seized bitcoin worth millions of dollars paid to the ransomware group DarkSide, responsible for closing the Colonial Pipeline.

Tom Robinson, founder and chief scientist of the Elliptic company, who analyzes the bitcoin payments, told BBC that REvil, like other cybercriminals, would have preferred to use the Monero digital currency, but it would be difficult to buy $ 70 million worth of currency for practical and regulatory reasons.

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