Telecom Argentina under major ransomware attack. Elperiodista.com, the Spanish language site, cites anonymous employees stating that the attack began last Wednesday. Initially thought of as a small IT issue, the cyber-attacks have reportedly crippled the IT systems of the company.
Employees also told the release that the company has instructed staff not to access files or emails. In one user’s July 18 Twitter post, Alex Kruger, the cybercriminals threaten further action unless their demands are satisfied.
The post reads “Argentina’s major telephone company, Telecom, just got hacked. Hackers requesting a ransom of $7.5 million in monero.”
Shared photos in the same Twitter post show that offenders want the payment made before July 21. If the telecoms company fails to pay before the deadline, the demand for ransoms will double while systems remain locked.
Monero is privacy-centric and some exchanges have delisted the coin for such reasons. Still, others are querying the unusual sum demanded and the fact that attackers want monero (XMR) for payments.
CEO and founder of Mana Security, Tim Ismilyaev argues that the coin has lower exchange liquidity which makes it inappropriate for large cashouts.
He said that “it’s especially strange to ask for $7.5M in monero, it’s about 13% of daily trading volumes and would significantly impact the price.” Ismilyaev suggests there could be another motive behind the attack.
“I think attackers don’t expect Telecom Argentina to pay such a big check, but they probably already have monero and want to sell it for a better price after the price pump,” he added.