Portuguese energy company Energias de Portugal (EDP) has been hit with a ransomware attack with the hackers demanding over US$10 million [AU$15.7 million] in Bitcoin.
The world may be under lockdown due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but that does not mean that hackers are staying quiet.
In fact, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently warned the public to expect a surge in cryptocurrency scams looking to take advantage of the continuing effects of the coronavirus outbreak.
The latest victim of hacking mischief is EDP, which has been hit with a ransomware attack. EDP is a major Portuguese energy company that operates in 19 countries and has assets worth over €42 million.
Expensive ransom demand
The hackers used the Ragnar Locker ransomware to encrypt the computer systems of EDP, as well as stealing 10TB of private information from the company’s servers. The hackers are demanding a ransom of 1,580 bitcoins (currently worth $10.33 million), or else, the information will be released to the public.
The data stolen includes information on clients, contracts, transactions, partners, and billing, as well as employee login names and passwords.
The hackers left a note on EDP’s servers saying:
“And be assure that if you wouldn’t pay, all files and documents would be publicated for everyones view and also we would notify all your clients and partners about this leakage with direct links. So if you want to avoid such harm for your reputation, better pay the amount that we asking for.”
So far, EDP has not commented on the ransomware attack. It should be noted that the company is currently working to help people deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.
EDP invested €4 million in medical equipment and supplies that are being distributed to hospitals in Portugal. In addition, the company has announced a fund worth €750,000 that is earmarked for local communities in 10 countries dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Ransomware proving costly
Ransomware has hit many businesses, organizations, and local governments around the world. The FBI said at a recent conference that hackers earned a total of $144 million in Bitcoin from October 1, 2013, through November 7, 2019.
The total amount of the ransom payments is quite high, but the true economic damage caused by such attacks is truly staggering.
Cybersecurity firm Emsisoft released its 2019 report earlier this year, and the report states the economic impact in the United States alone in 2019 was over $7.5 billion.
The report also said, “The incidents were not simply expensive inconveniences; the disruption they caused put people’s health, safety, and lives at risk.” This is due to hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities being targeted by hackers.