Hackers have stolen customer data from the Valartis Bank in Liechtenstein and are now demanding a ransom to withhold the information.
The hackers want as much as 10% of account balances be paid in bitcoin to keep the information of politicians, actors and other well-to-do customers private.
According to The Register the attackers have threatened victims with revealing evidence of tax evasion to authorities and the media if their demands aren’t met by 7th December.
The attackers have reportedly accused the bank of not paying them for security services saying that their intention was not to harm and that they now have to extort the bank. As The Register points out this incident is likely an instance of bug poaching, which is when attackers exploit weak points in a companies security and then use them for nefarious purposes. Of course this is just speculation at this point.
The hackers claim to have taken as much as seven gigabytes of account information and correspondence since October.
This story presents an interesting moral quandary. While black-hat hacking such as this is bad, if these hackers are sitting on evidence of tax evasion that’s not much better. With that having been said it’s illegal to hack into a bank (or any institution for that matter) and steal information for your own financial gain, no matter how revealing that information happens to be.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this story to see how it develops.
[Source – The Register] [Image – CC BY SA 2.0 401(K) 2012]