Argentine Telecom Hackers Demanded $7.5M in Crypto as Ransom

Argentina’s leading telecommunications company fought off a cyberattack on Saturday where hackers demanded a hefty ransom in monero to release keys that would allow infected computers back into the system.

AccessTimeIconJul 20, 2020 at 6:23 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:33 a.m. UTC
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The hackers behind an unsuccessful ransomware attack on Argentina’s leading telecommunications company, Telecom SA, demanded $7.5 million in monero (XMR) to allow infected computers to go back to normal operations.

  • According to unidentified employees of Telecom SA, the company’s network was under attack for up to 72 hours, affecting employee access to its virtual private network (VPN) and a number of databases, Argentinian news publication El Periodista reported on Saturday.
  • On Sunday, Argentine daily newspaper, La Nacion, confirmed the malicious attack adding that it only affected the computers of teams providing remote customer service, and that hackers asked for the sum to release keys that would allow infected computers to regain access to the system. 
  • Rumors of a crypto ransom first began circulating on Twitter on Saturday after economist Alex Kruger tweeted that hackers were demanding a $7.5 million in privacy-focused cryptocurrency monero. 
  • The tweet included an image that indicated the hackers threatened to double the ransom to $15 million if it was not paid within 48 hours. 
  • In another attached image, Telecom SA apparently urged its employees to “minimize” accessing the corporate network, avoid using VPNs and refrain from opening emails containing attachments. 
  • The image also said the attack had not affected the firm’s critical services, and that its cyber-defense teams were working to contain it. 
  • According to La Nacion’s post, Telecom SA said it curtailed the attack without having to pay the ransom.

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