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Russian ‘REvil gang’ hackers demands $70M Bitcoin ransom payout

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The group behind the recent Kaseya cyber attack is asking for a $70M ransom in Bitcoin for a ‘universal decryptor’ key

The Russian hacking group REvil has published a blog post on the dark web taking credit for the audacious cyber attack on MSP providers in the US which they claim affected over a million systems.

They also called on ‘anyone willing to negotiate’ for a ‘universal decryptor’, offering to list the key publicly if someone pays the ransom.

“Everyone will be able to recover from the attack in less than an hour,” the post read.

John Hammond from Huntress Labs Inc sent this screenshot of the blog post in a direct Twitter message to Ticker reporters.

Will the companies pay the ransom?

The general advice from cyber-security experts is to not pay hackers to retrieve their data, because it encourages future attacks.

However, John Hammond from Huntress Labs doesn’t believe the situation is so simple. The cybersecurity firm Huntress Labs Inc is leading the investigation into the attack.

“This is an extremely intricate and tough situation,” he said in a private Twitter message to Ticker reporters.

“You have to make the decision that is best for your business,” he said.

The Kaseya cyber attack

The attack targeted more than 20 managed service providers (MSP). Yesterday, Huntress Labs anticipated the hack had affected more than 1000 businesses, which expectations that the figure would grow based on reports from the providers and a Reddit thread tracking the hack.

“It’s reasonable to think this could potentially be impacting thousands of small businesses,” tweeted John Hammond from Huntress Labs. Hammond says the attack targeted a software supplier called Kaseya.

Biden has sinced called for US intelligence to conduct a “deep dive” into the attacks. “We’re not sure it’s the Russians,” he said. “The initial thinking was, it was not the Russian government, but we’re not sure yet.”

Sweden closes up shop

Another victim of the attack is Sweden, which has seen around 500 supermarkets unable to trade.

Coop Sweden has closed half of its 800 stores after its point-of-sale tills and self-service checkouts stopped working just before the weekend.

The supermarket itself was not targeted by hackers. However, because it uses on of the affected MSPs it too has fallen victim to the attack.

Cybersecurity becomes and international security issue

This comes as the latest in a string of ransomware attacks in recent months, including the attack on JBS. Experts have also attributed the JBS attack to the REvil cyber gang.

It also comes shortly after President Joe Biden signed an executive order to strengthen cybersecurity defences across the US.

Natasha is an Associate Producer at ticker NEWS with a Bachelor of arts from Monash University. She has previously worked at Sky News Australia and Monash University as an Online Content Producer.

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Business

Companies to pay extra for verified Twitter accounts

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Elon Musk has announced that companies and brands will have to pay $1,000 per month – plus an additional $50 per sub-account – to get verified check-marks on Twitter

The new pricing falls under the new Twitter Blue for Business service.

Within the next few months, only paying Twitter customers will have verified status.

Twitter has stacked on $12.5 billion in debt, and this move hopes to increase subscription revenue to meet Musk’s obligations.

Advertisers halted spending on Twitter after the takeover, but Twitter has since announced partnerships with two brand-safety vendors to win back marketers.

Musk also announced that Twitter would start sharing ad revenue with creators for “ads that appear in their reply threads”, but didn’t provide further detail.

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Business

BMW to invest €800 million in Mexico

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BMW is set to invest €800 million in Mexico, to produce its next generation of high-voltage and fully electric batteries

 
The carmaker is looking to convert more than half of its sales into all-electric cars by 2030.

Construction will begin next year with production beginning in 2027.

The announcement follows several other major expansions from the automaker in recent months, including a $1.7 billion investment in the United States.

The move will add around 1,000 new jobs to its Mexico operations.

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Business

A British digital currency “later this decade”

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The Bank of England and Britain’s finance ministry think the UK is likely to need to create a central bank digital currency later this decade.

“On the basis of our work to date, the Bank of England and HM Treasury judge that it is likely a digital pound will be needed in the future,” the Telegraph quoted BoE Governor Andrew Bailey and finance minister Jeremy Hunt as saying in the joint report.

“It is too early to commit to build the infrastructure for one, but we are convinced that further preparatory work is justified,” the Telegraph quoted the report saying.

The BoE declined to comment on the Telegraph article, but said a joint consultation on CBDC issues would be published shortly.

A government source said the report would be published next week.

BoE Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe is due to give a speech on Tuesday to update the finance industry on the BoE’s CBDC work.

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