Digital Assets: Ransom Amounts Escalate Into Tens of Millions As Hacks Get Bolder

August 3, 2020 | Digital Assets, News
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Travel management firm CWT ponied up a ransom of BTC 414 ($4.6 million). Did Garmin pay $10 million? They’re not telling.

The Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) attack gathered a lot of notoriety, mainly because it affected the accounts of so many prominent personalities. The scam garnered roughly $120,000 for its perpetrators and was not a ransomware attack. That amount is peanuts compared to the scale of ransom attacks now being witnessed. US-based travel management firm CWT just paid $4.6 million to get back the use of its computers. (CryptoNews.com)

Stolen files and dead computers

Reuters reported the incident on Friday, revealing that CWT paid $4.5 million last week to attackers. The criminals used the “Ragnar Locker” ransomware. The malware encrypts computer files and can only be used by the victim after paying the ransom.

Reuters said CWT lost control of 30,000 computers. The hackers also stole a huge volume of its sensitive corporate files.

Reuters also said that the negotiations between the company and the hackers were publicly visible.  It posted a screenshot of the chat messages on an online chat group. It also confirmed that a blockchain transaction relating to the hackers’ wallet showed a receipt of BTC 414 on July 28.

The criminals had initially demanded $10 million as a ransom payment but agreed to the smaller amount on the company’s pleas that it had suffered badly from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Did Garmin pay a $10 million ransom?

Garmin (NASDAQ: GRMN), a multinational tech company, is only now limping back to normal after a WastedLocker ransomware attack on July 23 reported by Bleeping Computer. Quoting employees, Bleeping Computer revealed the ransom demand was for $10 million.

On Saturday, Bleeping Computer confirmed that Garmin had indeed received the decryption key to get back access to their files.

It concluded that some or all of the ransom must have been paid because “WastedLocker is enterprise-targeting ransomware with no known weaknesses in their encryption algorithm.”

“This lack of flaws means that a decryptor can not be made for free.”

Victim companies do not make the fact or amount of ransom payments free as they may attract fines or penalties from the government.

Related Story:  University of California San Francisco Pays $1.14M Ransom to Crypto Hackers                                                 

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