Main navigation

$4,000,000 Bitcoin Ransom Demanded from Argentina's Official Immigration Agency

News
Sun, 09/06/2020 - 18:36
article image
Alex Dovbnya
Argentina had to halt border crossing due to a major ransomware attack
$4,000,000 Bitcoin Ransom Demanded from Argentina's Official Immigration Agency
Cover image via stock.adobe.com
Read U.TODAY on
Google News
Contents

According to a Sept. 6 report published by Bleeping Computer, Argentina’s National Migration Department had to suspend border crossing for four hours after being crippled by a ransomware attack that occurred on Aug. 27:

“The Comprehensive Migration Capture System (SICaM) that operates in international crossings was particularly affected, which caused delays in entry and exit to the national territory.”

A $4 mln Bitcoin ransom

Hackers were able to gain access to the database and steal information from the federal agency with the help of a powerful cryptovirus called Netwalker.  

This ransomware strain, which was first discovered back in September 2019, uses sophisticated techniques to encrypt files with AES cipher.     

Not to allow the ransomware to replicate itself on other computer networks, they had to be shut down.

Initially, the hackers demanded a $2 mln worth of Bitcoin to unlock files, according to the dark web payment page linked in their ransomware note. In one week, this sum increased to 355 BTC (around $4 mln at current exchange rates).

Ransomware
image by bleepingcomputer.com

The extortion attempt isn’t faring well so far since the immigration agency refuses to negotiate with the attackers. It claims that no sensitive, personal, or corporate information has been compromised, and they are not concerned about decrypting the stolen data. 

Related
Ripple Partner MoneyGram Becomes Victim of "DDoS-for-Bitcoin" Attack

More high-profile attacks 

In July, Telecom Argentina, the largest telecommunications company in the country, also became a victim of ransomware, with hackers requesting $7.5 mln worth of privacy-focused cryptocurrency Monero (XMR).

The attack lasted more than three days but Telecom Argentina was able to restore access to infected computers without having to shell out the hefty ransom.

As reported by U.Today, CWT, America’s fifth-largest travel company, agreed to pay $4.5 mln worth of BTC to extortionists in late July.

article image
About the author

Alex Dovbnya (aka AlexMorris) is a cryptocurrency expert, trader and journalist with extensive experience of covering everything related to the burgeoning industry — from price analysis to Blockchain disruption. Alex authored more than 1,000 stories for U.Today, CryptoComes and other fintech media outlets. He’s particularly interested in regulatory trends around the globe that are shaping the future of digital assets, can be contacted at alex.dovbnya@u.today.