"Your files are encrypted.”
In a rare occurrence, Argentina’s Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (DNM) received a ransom note signaling that hackers managed to get into the immigration system reportedly halted border crossings for four hours. The attackers, identified as NetWalker, demanded a ransom of $4 million in Bitcoin, which the government refused to budge.
Security news site Bleepingcomputer said that the first attack was reported by the Argentinean government to the country’s cybercrime agency on August 27 after multiple calls from border checkpoints suggested their computer networks were compromised.
In a Tor payment page seen by BleepingComputer, Netwalker originally demanded $2 million for a decryptor the and deletion of stolen files. After seven days, this amount increased to $4 million. pic.twitter.com/CTmjPHshVv— BleepingComputer (@BleepinComputer) September 6, 2020
The ransomware operators that breached Argentina's immigration agency, based on the article, were the group called Netwalker. Hackers initially demanded a $2 million payment to restore the agency's servers following a payment message flashed to a Tor network page. After seven days, the portal said that the amount changed to 355.8718 Bitcoin (BTC) payment, nearly $4 million at that time. According to Infobae, the attackers effectively shut down the borders for four hours, which directed authorities, during these system's downtimes, to take all computer networks used by immigration officials at regional offices and checkpoints offline. Government officials reportedly said "they will not negotiate with hackers” and are not concerned with retrieving the stolen data.
Decrypt shared that ransomware has boomed in recent years, with hackers frequently demanding payments in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. New estimates suggest that the cost of ransom attacks, to companies, totals around $170 billion annually. Current victims of these cyberattacks include travel management firm CWT, the University of Utah (another NetWalker victim), and even vital health services responding to the coronavirus pandemic.