A Hacker Extorts $3m Worth of Bitcoins from a UAE Bank

News and Analysis

A bank in Sharjah, UAE, fell victim to a hacker, who demands $3 million worth of bitcoins as a ransom.

The extortionist calling himself or herself Hacker Buba managed to sneak into the bank’s database. According to gulfnews.com, the hacker’s threats proved serious, as he or she posts confidential information on the organization’s customers on Twitter every few hours.

The hacking became known only now, though the first files containing customer data have been uploaded as early as on November 18.

Even though Twitter suspended the account following the bank’s claim, the measure proved futile: the next day the extortionist just created a new account, and also revenged the bank by uploading bank statements of 500 customers.

Immediately upon hacking the database, the extortionist sent texts and e-mails to several customers warning them the accounts in question are under his or her control, and that they either should pay the ransom directly, or persuade the bank to do so. The demand also threated confidential data and bank statement to be published if they don’t pay the ransom.

The unnamed bank confirmed the hack.

“Yes, database was hacked, and someone named Hacker Buba contacted as. They want money, though we can’t call out the amount. This is blackmail. We reported that to the UAE Central Bank, and law enforcement is investigating the case,” the bank’s representative said.

“We’re not going to make concessions to the extortionist. Anyway, we have no financial loss. Everything that person possesses is our customer data, and they just try to use it as means of exchange,” he added.

While some call the hack the most serious incident in UAE banking history, the customers are extremely dissatisfied regardless of the statement from the bank.

“Everything’s way more serious than they try to show. I feel like I’m naked, and my whole company is naked. Our financial transactions, customer data, everything is public now,” says a representative of an investment company.

Another customer, owner of a contracting company from Abu Dhabi stated that his company has suffered an ‘irreparable loss’. The customers became even more angry when they realized that the bank tried to keep it dark. After all, they found out about the incident not from the bank, but from journalists.

Even though the bank did not disclose the ransom amount, the criminal announced on Twitter that he or she demands $3m worth of bitcoin.

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