Cyber attack at MediaMarkt: hackers demand 50 million dollars

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Last Monday, MediaMarkt became the victim of a cyber attack: an international group of hackers hacked the electronics chain's computer systems, demanding 50 million dollars (around 43 million euros) in bitcoin.

 

All data encrypted

On Monday morning, MediaMarkt told its shop assistants in several countries that they were to stop using in-store computers and to disconnect the cash registers from the internet. It soon became apparent that a cyberattack had targeted the electronics retailer. Although the company did not want to release any further information at the time, it is now known that the attack was a digital hostage-taking.

 

Every hacked computer now holds a file containing the message: "Your network has been hacked, and all data has been encrypted. To regain access to all data, you must purchase our decryption software", Dutch news channel RTL reported.

 

International hacker group

This decryption software costs a tremendous amount: the hostage-takers demand 50 million dollars. Initially, the ransom demand was even 240 million dollars, according to the BleepingComputer, but that amount dropped significantly when MediaMarkt began negotiating.

 

Behind the attack is hacker group Hive, which became internationally infamous because they hacked hospitals' computer systems. However, they do operate quite professionally: Hive even has a sort of 'customer service': victims can chat with the hackers to negotiate the ransom and get a few hostage files back as proof. Those who fail to pay in time will find that their information will be up for grabs on the group's website. By leaking this data, they put pressure on the victims.

 

Stores are open

A total of 3,100 MediaMarkt servers are said to have been hacked. It is not known whether the hackers also have access to the consumer data of the electronics retailer. However, Hive is said to be very thorough and usually even hacks the backups of its targets. Negotiations are currently ongoing regarding the ransom.

 

The MediaMarkt stores, also in Belgium and the Netherlands, are currently open, but only physical articles from the stores can be sold. Consumers cannot pick up or return packages, save loyalty points on their loyalty cards, or redeem gift vouchers. The cash registers in the affected stores cannot accept credit cards or print receipts. E-commerce continues as usual.