After a contractor hack, Aramco, one of the world’s wealthiest companies, is facing extortion of $50 million.
Saudi Arabian Oil Co., one of the world’s wealthiest firms, is facing a $50 million cyber ransom demand for data that was presumably leaked by one of its contractors.
Saudi Aramco, as it is better known, admitted that it “recently became aware of the indirect leakage of a limited amount of business data stored by third-party contractors.”
The leak was not caused by a breach in Aramco’s own systems, according to the company.
Aramco’s data was offered for deletion in exchange for $50 million in cryptocurrencies. A second timer began counting down from $5 million. The perpetrators of the ransom plan have yet to be identified.
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The oil company did not specify which contractor was affected, nor did it clarify whether the contractor was hacked or if the information was released in some other way.
“We certify that the data leak was not caused by a breach of our systems, that it has no influence on our operations, and that the company maintains a strong cybersecurity posture,” Aramco added.
The extortionist allegedly held 1 terabyte of Aramco data, according to a page accessed by the AP on the darknet—a portion of the internet kept within an encrypted network and accessible only through specialized anonymity-providing software. 1,000 gigabytes equals a terabyte.
Aramco has already been the target of a cyberattack. The so-called Shamoon computer virus, which destroyed hard drives and then flashed a picture of a burning American flag on computer displays, affected the kingdom’s oil behemoth in 2012. Aramco was compelled to shut down its network and destroy over 30,000 machines as a result of the attack.
Later, US officials blamed the strike on Iran, whose nuclear enrichment program had just been targeted by the Stuxnet virus, which was most likely created by the US and Israel.
Another malware struck the kingdom in 2017, disrupting computers at Sadara, a joint venture between Aramco and Dow Chemical Co. in Michigan. Officials warned at the time that it could be a reincarnation of Shamoon.
After trading halted last week for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, the sliver of Aramco that presently trades openly on Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange stood at 34.90 riyals per share, or $9.30. This values the corporation at roughly $1.8 trillion, making it one of the most valuable in the world. This is a condensed version of the information.