Cyber Security

‘Clop’ Urges Victims’ Customers To Pay Ransom Amount

Enterprise-level ransomware attacks were at an all-time high in the first half of 2020. Unsurprisingly, hackers targeted the vulnerabilities of remote access technologies. Earlier, ransomware was limited to the threat of being permanently locked away from organizational data and paying a huge ransom. However, today’s hackers deploy new pressure tactics to convince their victims’ customers to pay the extortion demand. How are these cybercriminals stealing data from their victims? In this article at Krebs On Security, Brian Krebs explains how ransom gangs ask victims’ customers to aid in extortion efforts.

High-Profile Attacks

The newest form of online intimidation by ‘Clop’ ransomware involves emailing the victims’ clients, informing them that the organization has been hacked. The email also warns the customers that the stolen data will be published on the dark web, if the organization fails to pay the ransom. Unlike traditional ransomware groups, Clop demands two sets of ransom payments: “One for a digital key needed to unlock computers and data from file encryption, and a second to avoid having stolen data published or sold online,” says Krebs. This means victims that do not want to pay to get their files and servers back will have to consider paying the ransom for data protection because their customers’ data privacy is at stake.

What Does the Email Contain?

“Good day! If you received this letter, you are a customer, buyer, partner, or employee (victim). The company has been hacked, data has been stolen, and will soon be released as the company refuses to protect its people’s data. We inform you that information about you will be published on the darknet (URL to the dark web) if the company does not contact us. Call or write to this store and ask to protect your privacy!!!”

The hackers use the stolen data to contact customers and urge them to make the company pay. However, the email fails to reveal that the ‘privacy protection’ cybercriminals are urging victims’ customers to seek is a ransom payment.

Law enforcement officials and cybersecurity experts often warn against paying ransoms. This is because there is plenty of evidence of hackers launching future attacks against victims that are willing to pay.

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