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Sunday, 04 April 2021 05:57

Nine's 'no-ransom' stance correct in legal sense: researcher Featured

Nine's 'no-ransom' stance correct in legal sense: researcher Pixabay

In a strictly legal sense, Nine Entertainment is correct in continuing to push the notion that it has not received a ransom note after it announced on 28 March that it had fallen victim to what was described as a "cyber attack", a senior security researcher has told iTWire.

At least one of the company's own publications, the Australian Financial Review, has reported that staff were told to look on their PCs for a file named Recovery_ Instructions.html which is the ransom note issued by the ransomware in question, MedusaLocker.

An article published in some Nine newspapers on Saturday pushes the "no ransom note" notion by quoting a claimed expert as saying that a ransomware attack with no ransom demand is highly unusual.

Brett Callow, a ransomware researcher with the New Zealand-headquarter Emsisoft, said, in the case of MedusaLocker the note left behind made no mention of a ransom.

"The note dropped by MedusaLocker doesn’t actually make any demands; it simply tells companies that their data has been encrypted and invites them to get in touch should they wish to purchase a decryptor," he pointed out.

ransom note

The note left behind by the Windows ransomware MedusaLocker on infected systems.

"In other words, a company that had yet to contact the threat actors could honestly say that it had not received a demand.

"Ditto if it had reached out but the threat actor had yet to reply. At least one [ransomware] group is known to have failed to reply to victims, so this wouldn’t be without precedent."

Nine has made no public comment about the attack apart from a statement which it has made available since at least 31 March and which was quoted in this update about the incident.

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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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