Network cables are seen going into a server in an office building in Washington, DC. A ransomware attack launched hours before the US Independence Day holiday weekend affected American businesses, researchers said on July 3, 2021. (Photo by AFP)
A hacking group behind the recent attack against the Miami-headquartered IT company Kaseya has demanded a record $70 million ransom payment to decrypt the locked computers.
The Record, an arm of the US-based cybersecurity firm Recorded Future said REvil took responsibility for the attack, saying more than one million systems were affected during the Kaseya incident.
The hacking group, which is believed to have links to Russia, said, "If anyone wants to negotiate about [a] universal decryptor - our price is 70 000 000$ in BTC and we will publish publicly [a] decryptor that decrypts [the] files of all victims, so everyone will be able to recover from [the] attack in less than an hour."
American company Kaseya, which specializes in remote management software, reported the ransomware attack last week.
The ransomware payment would be the highest ever made if paid.
The attack took place weeks after US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo warned of a growing threat of cyberattacks against American companies and government entities amid a string of hacking attacks, targeting key national entities.
Raimondo said the threat is "here to stay" and may even worsen, appealing for vigilance from the private sector in the face of increasingly serious cyberattacks.
Analysts say the hackers behind the recent ransomware and cyberattacks -- targeting a major US oil pipeline, the US branch of a global meatpacking giant, New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, and even the Irish health service -- are likely based in Russia, a charge Moscow denies.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has sounded the alarm over recent high-profile attacks against American projects like Colonial Pipeline and SolarWinds.
Deputy US National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger said, "All organizations must recognize that no company is safe from being targeted by ransomware, regardless of size or location."
FBI director Christopher Wray has recently underscored the severity of the hacking attacks in the United States, saying there were parallels with the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US by al-Qaeda, which killed 2,977 Americans.
US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm also admitted that American adversaries have the ability to shut down the countryís power grids.
"I think that there are very malign actors who are trying even as we speak. There are thousands of attacks on all aspects of the energy sector and the private sector generally," she said.
There are growing concerns in the US over cybersecurity holes in Americaís energy infrastructure as cyberattacks against US infrastructureís computer networks surge.
Colonial Pipeline, the largest US transporter of refined fuels, was forced to temporarily halt shipments after a major cyberattack earlier this year, leading to gas crisis and panic buying across the US Southeast.