US travel management company CWT paid 414 Bitcoin, worth $4.5 million, to hackers who stole sensitive corporate files and reportedly knocked 30,000 computers offline. Crypto exchange Binance CEO said,
“Again, not bitcoin’s fault, but as we inevitably evolve into a more digital civilization, all businesses new and old will need to revamp their security practices.”
Ransomware called Ragnar Locker which encrypts computer files to make them unusable until the victim pays for them to be restored, was used by the attackers, reported Reuters. The statement by the company that posted $1.5 billion in revenue last year, but has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic reads,
“We can confirm that after temporarily shutting down our systems as a precautionary measure, our systems are back online, and the incident has now ceased.”
CWT immediately informed US law enforcement, and European data protection authorities and the investigation is at an early stage.
Initially, the hackers demanded $10 million to delete the stolen data and restore CWT’s files, adding,
“It’s probably much cheaper than lawsuits expenses (sic), reputation loss caused by leakage.”
In its ransom note, hackers claimed to have stolen two terabytes of files, including security documents, financial reports, and employees’ personal data.
Ransomware attacks are a consistent and serious threat to businesses that costs billions of dollars each year, and the best defense against them is to keep secure data back-ups.
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