Posted on May 16, 2020 at 3:32 PM
A hacking group, known as the REvil ransomware gang, is extorting a law firm based in New York, with the threat of exposing sensitive data of the firm’s sensitive clients if the firm fails to pay a ransom fee of $42 million.
The group has already released 2.4GB of Lady Gaga’s document online yesterday, and they are still threatening to expose some of Donald Trump’s sensitive documents that could put his second tenure ambition in jeopardy.
The law firm, Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks (GSMS), suffered an attack last week, and the hackers responsible for the attack are now threatening to go live with the details they got from the hack if the firm does not pay up.
On the 7th of this month, the Revil ransomware gang addressed the GSMS with a message containing their new hack and a threat accompanying the message. The gang encrypted the files and gave the firm a period to respond positively or risk losing the sensitive files, which would have grave repercussions.
Stolen files include details of influential customers
The hackers released screenshots on the site, which shows that the gang stole files about GSMS influential customers, including the likes of Cam Newton, Jessica Simpson, Outkast, U2, Bette Midler, Bruce Springsteen, Nicki Minaj Mariah Carey, Madonna, and Lady Gaga. The group also has files from companies like Facebook in their possession.
Hacking incident confirmed by GSMS
GSMS has officially acknowledged the theft of its documents by the hackers. It also revealed the extortion attempt to entertainment news website Variety.
Additionally, as a punishment for the firm’s failure to meet their demands in time, the group released details of one of the influential persons on the file. They released a 2.5 GB data of Lady Gaga’s documents, mostly containing contacts for TV appearances, merchandising, and concerts.
Hackers also threatened to expose US president
Apart from doubling the ransom, the group has also threatened the law firm they would be forced to release files about US President Donald Trump if the ransom is not paid.
The hackers revealed that they have found something that may cost the president his second term ambition. They also indirectly referred to Trump to ask the firm to pay up or risk losing the forthcoming election.
“Mr. Trump, if you want to stay president, poke a sharp stick at the guys, otherwise you may forget this ambition forever,” the REvil hacking gang revealed in their website.
Nonetheless, PageSix, an entertainment news site, reported today that there was never a time President Trump was a client of the law firm where the data was stolen. If that were true, it could mean that the hackers are only issuing empty threats to cajole GSMS to pay up their monetary demands within the deadline.
The law firm says it has not paid any ransom
The hackers said in its website that it gave the firm a week to meet up to their initial payment demands of $21 million or risk losing the files. But that deadline was crossed yesterday night when the ransom gang sent another warning message on their site.
The REvil gang said GSMS offered them to $365,000 instead of the $21 million they demanded. As a result of the meager offer and seeing that the deadline has passed, they are now doubling the demand to $42 million.
However, in a recent statement credited to GSMS, a spokesperson of the law firm said the firm has not paid any ransom and has been engaging in discussions with the FBI, as paying the ransom or negotiating with criminals or terrorists is a violation of federal criminal law.
According to the law firm, the criminals still go ahead to leak the information even after the ransom has been paid.
Emsisoft, a security firm based in New Zealand, revealed there was a past data dump by the hacking group containing a stolen letter issued by Trump at Brooks International. However, nothing was incriminating or serious in the letter, since it was only an invitation letter sent to the company’s chief executive officer.