Notorious hacker group ‘REvil’ that recently targeted one of the top entertainment law firms in the U.S. have demanded a ransom of $42 million to prevent releasing of “dirty laundry” on U.S. President Donald Trump.
For those unaware, REvil, also known as Sodinokibi, targeted Grubman, Shire, Meiselas and Sacks and stole 756GB of data from the law firm. This New York-based law firm represents clients across the entertainment industry including Lady Gaga, Drake, Elton John, Madonna, Robert De Niro, LeBron James, The Weeknd, and Priyanka Chopra.
The hacking group claims to have stolen contracts, nondisclosure agreements, phone numbers, email addresses, and private correspondence. They have also deleted or encrypted the firm’s backups, which means the only method they can be decrypted is to pay ransom to get the key.
Originally, the hackers had demanded $21 million to not release the information but when the law firm refused to pay the ransom, the hackers on Thursday doubled the amount threatening to also leak negative information on Trump, Page Six reported.
“The ransom is now [doubled to] $42,000,000 … The next person we’ll be publishing is Donald Trump. There’s an election going on, and we found a ton of dirty laundry,” the hackers said in a new message on Thursday.
“Mr Trump, if you want to stay president, poke a sharp stick at the guys, otherwise you may forget this ambition forever. And to you voters, we can let you know that after such a publication, you certainly don’t want to see him as president. Well, let’s leave out the details. The deadline is one week.”
“Grubman, we will destroy your company down to the ground if we don’t see the money,” the hackers wrote.
A source told Page Six that one of the firm’s founders attorney Allen Grubman is refusing to negotiate with the hackers, as he believes that the hackers may still release the data despite getting the ransom. Also, the FBI has stated this hack is considered an act of international terrorism.
“Our elections, our government and our personal information are under escalating attacks by foreign cybercriminals. Law firms are not immune from this malicious activity,” said Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks in a statement to Page Six.
“Despite our substantial investment in state-of-the-art technology security, foreign cyberterrorists have hacked into our network and are demanding $US42 million ($A65 million) as ransom. We are working directly with federal law enforcement and continue to work around the clock with the world’s leading experts to address this situation.”
The statement continued, “The leaking of our clients’ documents is a despicable and illegal attack by these foreign cyberterrorists who make their living attempting to extort high-profile U.S. companies, government entities, entertainers, politicians, and others. Previously, the United States Department of Defense, HBO, Goldman Sachs, as well as numerous state and local governments, have been victims of similar cybercriminal attacks.
“We have been informed by the experts and the FBI that negotiating with or paying ransom to terrorists is a violation of federal criminal law. Even when enormous ransoms have been paid, the criminals often leak the documents anyway.
“We are grateful to our clients for their overwhelming support and for recognizing that nobody is safe from cyberterrorism today. We continue to represent our clients with the utmost professionalism worthy of their elite stature, exercising the quality, integrity and excellence that have made us the number-one entertainment and media law firm in the world.”
What’s interesting is that Trump has never been a client of Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks. So, it’s unclear what information the hackers might have on Trump.