Published on 18 May 2020 by Charlie
A New York law firm, responsible for many big names in the entertainment industry including U2 , Rod Stewart and Madonna, has been hacked. The ransom demand, which was first set at 21 million dollars, was doubled alongside the release of 2.4GB of data relating to one of its clients, Lady Gaga.
This doubling of the ransom was apparently caused by a lack of raised funds and “that people are not determined to solve the problem”, according to the hackers known as “REvil” who posted an update on their darknet site on Thursday(14th). In the update post (available here, the group mentions the next person who they will release the details of if the ransom is not paid in time, this person being President Trump. The group claims to have “found a ton of dirty laundry” on President Trump, who is currently partaking in the election race, and threatens that the data, if released is enough for him to “forget this ambition forever”.
The group then goes on to mention the exchange giant Travelex and the situation they went through at the beginning of the year, shutting down their service for weeks and paying a $2.3 million ransom after allegedly the same group managed to install ransomware on the systems. The data was threatened to begin being released one week after the post(21st), however, after reports in the media that President Trump was never a client of the law firm and that they would not negotiate with the hackers, the group posted a second update.
Titled “For the press #2 and Trump” the post (available here) states that each week, the law firms clients data will be auctioned off to the highest bidder and all their systems will remain encrypted, unless payment is made. Addressing the claims that trump was not a client for the company the post then went on to link several file distribution sites that hosted data allegedly from the hacked law firm. The data is only a few Megabytes in size, however it contains what appears to be emails regarding Mr Trump, coming from the law firm in question.
A new post was added around 19:00 GMT on the 18th May (available here), stating that they had found someone to purchase the Trump data and that the next auction would be Madonna on the 25th, with a starting price of $1 Million. As the hackers claimed to have found a buyer, the links to the leaked trump data were removed from the previous posts.
If the data is real and it has been sold, then it could either resurface online for resale, be kept secret, or used against trump in the election. However, the claimed data could have been fabricated by the hackers as a way to gain attention to the other pieces of data they are auctioning. Only time will tell if the alleged data exists and is as damming as the hackers claim, unless it has been purchased by a party looking to keep this data from public eye.
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