An Israeli insurance company Shirbit was attacked by the Black Shadow hacker group earlier this week. The criminals are now demanding a $4 million ransom in Bitcoin.
Israeli local news outlet the Jerusalem Post reported the news on Thursday, December 3rd. According to the report, the Black Shadow group attacked the Shirbit insurance company on Tuesday, December 1st.
Shortly after the attack, hackers tweeted photos of ID cards, drivers’ licenses, and forms containing private information including names and addresses of some customers and employees. They, at first, demanded from the company to send 50 Bitcoin, equivalent to almost one million US dollars, to their Bitcoin address to not to release sensitive information.
The group warned that if the money was not sent until 9:00 AM on Thursday, the demanded ransom money will be doubled to 100 Bitcoin, approximately 2 million USD. After another 24 hours, the amount will rise to 200 BTC. Shortly after the first ultimatum, Black Shadow published large parts of the information online, such as ID cards, personal files, and internal faxes to threaten the firm to pay quickly.
The group further warned in Telegram group that they would sell the sensitive data if the Shirbit does not pay by Friday.
These kinds of attacks against insurance companies are growing, with dozens of insurance companies in the US reporting such attacks in just the past week. The Jerusalem Post cited Zohar Pinhasi, CEO of US-based cybersecurity firm MonsterCloud, who said:
“This is a new trend in the US. This type of attack is caused due to a lack of cybersecurity knowledge. it seems the company has a long and turbulent road ahead.”
Criminals involved in such attacks often demand ransom in cryptocurrencies as they are difficult to track. As Crypto Economy reported, in October of 2019, the City of Johannesburg’s website was hacked and hackers demand 4 Bitcoin in ransom. In 2018, the City of Atlanta was hit by with ransomware attack by hackers who demanded $51,000 in Bitcoins to remove malware introduced in a system of computers in the local government offices.
But one can not blame cryptocurrencies for these crimes. These events just show what risks do these centralized systems pose to our lives. These tragic incidents highlight the need for a new system to protect businesses from online crimes. That is what Blockchain technology, combined with other systems, can offer to make businesses resilient against these attacks.