Hackers Attack Telecom Argentina, Demand $7.5M Monero Ransom

The largest telecommunications company in Argentina is suffering a ransomware hack since last week. The hackers are now demanding a Monero ransom worth $7.5 million and even the amount can go as high as $15 million.

July 20 2020 | AtoZ Markets – Several cryptocurrency proponents on Twitter have reported that the largest telecommunications company in Argentina called Telecom has become a victim of a ransomware attack. Despite being unknown so far, the hackers are demanding a Monero (XMR) ransom worth $7.5 million.

Telecom Argentina hacked for Monero

Founded in 1990, Telecom has become the largest telecommunication firm in Argentina. According to popular cryptocurrency analyst and proponent, Alex Kruger, and a few other community members, the company was attacked just recently from an unknown hackers’ group.

Per the local news outlet, the attack has not affected users or internet and telephone services provided by Telecom Argentina. Landlines, cell phones, and the Internet remain unaffected. However, the perpetrators have targeted and encrypted multiple Telecom-owned Windows computers that contain sensible and personal information.

To provide the decryption software, the unknown attackers have requested a ransom paid in the popular privacy coin – Monero. One of the screenshots notes that Telecom has until July 21st, 20:23 local time to pay 109,345.35 XMR (worth $7.5 million at those prices). If the company fails to transfer the funds within the given timeframe, the amount doubles to 218690.7 XMR ($15 million).

Hackers Attack Telecom Argentina

Alleged Screenshot From Telecom Ransomware Hack. Source: Twitter

Interestingly, the perpetrators have also presented guidance on how Telecom representatives can purchase Monero coins, the screenshot reveals.

By executing ransomware attacks, the hackers infiltrate individuals, companies, or organizations and encrypt sensible information. Later, they request the victims to pay a ransom, and they provide the necessary encryption tools to regain access.

Which hackers are behind the Telecom Argentina attack?

Despite no hackers’ group taking responsibility for the hack so far, several signs point towards one of the most popular organizations in the field – REvil. Firstly, the group became famous for carrying out similar ransomware attacks. For instance, the London-based exchange company Travelex recently became a victim of REvil and paid $2.3 million in Bitcoin.

However, the second sign seems even more enticing. After the Travelex hack, REvil said that they will seize requesting ransoms in BTC as it leaves trails. Instead, the group announced switching their primary demand currency to precisely Monero.

REvil asserted that the combination between the privacy coin and the anonymous browser Tor could “quite successfully make a person’s financial activity completely invisible to the police and government agencies. We are extremely worried about the anonymity and security of our adverts, so we began a “forced” transition from the BTC to Monero.”

Could we see attacks against larger companies in the future? Let us know in the comment section below.

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