Hackers who breached Western Digital are now asking for a hefty ransom

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(Image credit: Shutterstock/Chor muang)

Cybercriminals who hacked into popular hard drive maker Western Digital earlier this month are now asking for a major payout to prevent leaking terabytes of data they stole in the attack.

In early April, the vendor reported a “network security incident” in which threat actors breached “a number of the Company’s systems”. Other than that, it didn't give any details, including who the threat actors were, how they got in, or if they stole any sensitive employee, client, or customer data. 

Soon after, the attackers reached out to the company in an attempt at blackmail, promising not to disclose the data publicly, or share the method used to breach the network, in exchange for a large fee. However, since they were met with relative silence from the company, they reached out to the media instead, probably to try and put more pressure on WD’s executives.

Speaking to the press

With that in mind, the group spoke to TechCrunch earlier this week, and besides detailing their communication with the company, they also shared screenshots and a few files, to prove the authenticity of their claims. 

While TechCrunch takes everything the hackers share with a grain of salt, it did say that the files shared were digitally signed with WD’s code-signing certificate, the phone numbers they provided triggered voicemail greetings that mention names of WD’s executives, and screenshots of group calls showed one participant “identified as Western Digital’s chief information security officer.”

When the hackers reached out to WD’s execs, they did not get the response they were hoping for:

“I want to give them a chance to pay but our callers […] they have called them many times. They don’t answer and if they do they listen and hang up,” the hacker told the publication. Even when reached out to by mail, the executives kept silent.

Western Digital spokesperson Charlie Smalling told the publication that the company does not want to comment or answer questions about the threat actors’ claims. It did not want to discuss the amount or type of data stolen, whether or not it was in touch with the attackers, or if any malware was used to breach the systems.

“I can say that we exploited vulnerabilities within their infrastructure and spidered our way to global administrator of their [Microsoft] Azure tenant,” the hacker told TechCrunch. 

For some 10 terabytes of data, the attackers are asking for “a minimum of eight figures”.

Via: TechCrunch

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.