Digital Assets: Nasdaq-Listed Software Company Sapiens Paid $250K Ransom to Hackers Amidst COVID

June 16, 2020 | Digital Assets, News
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The company chose not to report the incident to U.S. or Israeli exchange authorities, according to Calcalist.

Sapiens International Corp. N.V. (NASDAQ: SPNS), an Israeli software company listed both on the Nasdaq and in Tel Aviv, was allegedly forced to pay $250,000 in bitcoin to hackers amidst the COVID-19 crisis. (Calcalist Tech)

Quoting an anonymous source, Calcalist said the hackers took advantage of the COVID-19 situation when most of Sapiens’ employees had to work from home. They allegedly threatened to shut down the firm’s computers unless paid the ransom.

Sapiens shook down for 250K BTC

Sapiens develops software for hundreds of insurance and finance companies around the world. The company is based out of Holon, a suburb of Tel Aviv, and employs 2,500 people out of which 900 work in Israel.

The hackers exploited security loopholes in the system, possibly due to the sudden unplanned shift to remote working from home following the outbreak of the coronavirus.

In a typical ransom attack, an unsuspecting victim clicks on a link sent via a chat or email. After clicking the link, the victim connects to a malicious website that implants a malicious code on their computer, and thereafter the corporate system.

The code allows the remote bad actors to hijack control of the entire system and shut it down if need be. That is exactly what they threatened to do to Sapiens. The alternative: cough up a ransom.

To cover their tracks, and obliterate proof of payment, the cyber villains usually demand their ransom in a cryptocurrency such as bitcoin.

According to Calcalist, Sapiens thereafter had to pay $250,000 in bitcoin. The company did not report the matter to the Israeli or Nasdaq exchanges.

Sapiens has neither confirmed nor denied the report, the Calcalist said.

Knoxville, TN hit by a ransom attack

Meanwhile, the City of Knoxville, TN was forced to bring down its IT network after a ransomware attack last week.

COO David Brice confirmed receipt of an undisclosed ransom demand.

The officials suspect that the attack was triggered because an employee mistakenly clicked a phishing email.

However, the malicious software infected multiple systems, including the Knoxville Police Department before its detection.

Previously, other local governments such as  Atlanta, Baltimore, and New Orleans have suffered systems outages due to such malevolent attacks.

Related Story:  Israeli CyberSecurity Firm GK8 Dares Hackers With $250K Bounty

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