The US business travel management firm CWT just paid a $4.5 million bitcoin payment to hackers who stole terabytes of information. CWT claims that the hackers stole sensitive corporate files and put 30,000 computers offline. CWT represents more than 1/3 of companies on the S&P 500, which makes them a very valuable target for hackers.
Ransomware. Why did it have to be Ransomware?
Just like Indiana Jones hates snake’s, business executives hate ransomware. When ransomware is used by experienced hackers it can be very effective and can give all the leverage to the criminals, leaving businesses stuck with limited options. A majority of the time the hackers end up getting paid, which is why ransomware is a CFOs worst nightmare. In the case of CWT, the strain of ransomware used was called “Ragnar Locker” which encrypted computer files and made them useless until the ransom was paid. The hacking group originally asked for a $10 million payment, but a CWT negotiator brought the ransom to $4.5 million instead.
CWT was quick to pay the hackers as they wanted their systems online and sensitive information returned. On July 28th a bitcoin payment for 414 bitcoin or $4.5 million US dollars was paid to the hacking group and the attack was over.
Cybersecurity experts say that paying ransoms encourages future attacks, but these situations leave business executives with a difficult decision.
Protect your business from ransomware
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