Argentinian telecom supposedly hit by a crypto ransomware

Written by: Ali Raza
November 15, 2020
  • Argentina's largest telecom was recently hit by crypto-demanding ransomware.
  • Unknown attackers requested to be paid $7.5 million in Monero.
  • While the group was not identified, many suspect REvil, which recently targeted London-based exchange.

A string of massive hacking attacks that are related to cryptocurrencies one way or another continues. Last week, the biggest such hack saw the attackers hijack numerous highly-visible accounts to promote a Bitcoin scam.

Today, new reports indicate that Argentina’s largest Telecom fell victim to ransomware that demands a massive ransom. According to what is known, the attackers now want $7.5 million in Monero (XMR), a major privacy coin.

What happened?

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The hacked telecom is simply called Telecom, and it has been one of the leading services in the country since 1990. Now, the firm is being held for ransom by an unknown group of hackers, according to numerous reports on Twitter.

As far as the firm’s customers are concerned, everything seems to be working as usual, with no evident effects at this time. Neither cell phones nor landlines seem to be affected by the attack – a relief for those who wish to buy Monero.

But, reports note that numerous Windows computers owned by the company were hacked and encrypted, many of which contain sensitive data.

The attackers demand to be paid 109,345.35 in XMR, and in exchange, they would provide Telecom with the decryption software. The deadline for the payment is tomorrow, July 21st, and if the firm fails to pay, the hackers threaten to double the amount.

Interestingly enough, the attackers were also kind enough to provide detailed instructions on how the company can buy Monero.

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Who is responsible?

As mentioned, the identity of the hacking group remains unconfirmed. But, with that said, there are multiple signs that indicate that the responsible party might be a group known as REvil.

The group is known for its ransomware attacks, which are rather similar to this one. Previously, they hit the exchange from London, known as Travelex. On the occasion, they demanded $2.3 million in Bitcoin (BTC).

The fact that the hackers targeting Telecom requested XMR also fits, as REvil said that it won’t demand BTC anymore, due to its traceability. Instead, they would opt for a combination of privacy coins and anonymous browser, Tor.