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Sunday, 02 August 2020 05:45

Big US travel management firm CWT pays out US$4.5m to ransomware gang Featured

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Big US travel management firm CWT pays out US$4.5m to ransomware gang Pixabay

A big US travel management company CWT was hit by ransomware and agreed to pay a ransom to the cyber criminals behind the attack.

But the gang did not delete the conversation they had with CWT before the ransom was paid, providing some interesting insights into how these discussions proceed.

The company was hit with the Windows Ragnar Locker ransomware and, after some discussions with the attackers, agreed to pay a ransom of US$4.5 million (A$6.3 million) in bitcoin.

cwt message2

CWT has been in business for 26 years and reported US$23 billion in total transaction volume in 2018. It is based in Minneapolis.

The chat between CWT and the attackers was left up on the Web and discovered by Reuters Europe cyber security correspond Jack Stubbs.

cwt message

He posted several parts of it on his Twitter feed.

The attackers initially asked for much more, with the ransom note offering CWT a "special price" of US$10 million to ensure that the data stolen from the site was deleted and an encryption key to decrypt the company's data was supplied.

cwt message3

But CWT bargained with the gang and were finally given a price of US$4.5 million which they paid in bitcoin.

cwt message4

Once the negotiations were over and the ransom paid, the attackers had the chitzpah to offer advice to CWY so that the company could avoid a similar attack in the future.


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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