According to the company’s CEO, the ransomware attack centered on US information technology firm Kaseya has affected 800 to 1,500 firms around the world. In an interview, the Florida-based company’s chief executive, Fred Voccola, said it was difficult to assess the true impact of Friday’s attack because those affected were mostly Kaseya’s customers. Kaseya is a software firm that provides solutions to IT outsourcing organizations, typically acting as a back-office for businesses that are too small or have little resources to set up their own IT departments.
On Friday, one of these programmes was hacked, allowing the hackers to shut down hundreds of businesses across five continents. Although the majority of those impacted were small businesses such as dentists and accountants, the interruption was felt most acutely in Sweden, where hundreds of supermarkets were forced to close due to cash register failures, and New Zealand, where schools and kindergartens were shut down.
In private talks with a cybersecurity expert and Reuters, the hackers who claimed responsibility for the attack requested $70 million to recover all of the impacted firms’ data, but they indicated a readiness to lower their demands.
Earlier on Monday, a spokesman of the hackers told Reuters, “We are always willing to negotiate.” The employee, who communicated with the hackers using a chat window on their website, did not give their identity.
Voccola would not indicate whether he was willing to accept the hackers’ offer.
When asked if his firm would talk to or compensate the hackers, he responded, “I can’t comment yes, no, or maybe.” “I have no comment on any aspect of dealing with terrorists.”
As ransomware assaults become more disruptive – and lucrative – the subject of ransom payments has gotten more contentious.
Voccola claimed he met with authorities from the White House, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security about the incident, but he wouldn’t disclose what they told him about paying or negotiating.
The White House stated on Sunday that it was investigating if the ransomware outbreak constituted a “national concern,” but Voccola said he was unaware of any nationally significant organisations being affected so far.
He stated, “We’re not looking at big vital infrastructure.” “That isn’t our concern. We’re not using AT&T’s or Verizon’s networks or 911 systems. That’s not the case.”
Because Voccola’s company was in the midst of correcting a software weakness exposed by the hackers at the time of the ransomware assault, several information security experts suspected that the hackers were monitoring his company’s communications from the inside.
Voccola said that neither he nor the investigators sent in by his firm had seen any evidence of this.
He stated, “We don’t believe they were on our network.” He went on to say that the facts of the breach would be made public “as soon as it’s’safe’ and OK to do so.”
The entire impact of the breach, according to some analysts, will be apparent on Tuesday, when Americans return from their Fourth of July vacation weekend. Aside from the United States, the most significant disruptions happened in Sweden, when hundreds of Coop stores were forced to close due to malfunctioning cash registers, and New Zealand, where 11 schools and numerous kindergartens were affected.
The hackers’ spokesman described the interruption in New Zealand as a “accident” in an interview with Reuters.
They did not, however, show any sorrow for the inconvenience in Sweden.
According to the spokesperson, the grocery closures were “nothing more than a commercial decision.”
According to research provided by cybersecurity firm ESET, the hack has touched companies in almost a dozen different nations in some form.
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