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DoJ Launches Ransomware Taskforce as Apple Hit by Extortion Attempt


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Jun 28, 2020
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The US Department of Justice has reportedly launched a new ransomware task force, after an infamous threat group claimed to have stolen Apple trade secrets via a supplier.

The REvil (Sodinokibi) group is reported to have posted a blog to its dark web-hosted naming and shaming site in which it claims to have compromised the network of Taiwanese supplier Quanta Computer.

As the firm refused to pay the $50 million ransom, REvil is now putting the pressure on Apple, posting multiple screenshots of Macbook schematics with the promise of more to come. Other firms may also be affected.

“Our team is negotiating the sale of large quantities of confidential drawings and gigabytes of personal data with several major brands,” the REvil operators wrote, according to The Record. “We recommend that Apple buy back the available data by May 1.”

It’s unclear how much REvil is asking the tech giant to pay.

The attempt to extort a victim organization’s customers marks a new and concerning development in the ransomware story, although it’s unclear if the group genuinely has schematics for unreleased products.

It’s something a new US government taskforce will be looking at as it tries to tackle the threat.

The new DoJ taskforce will work to coordinated efforts across the federal government to disrupt C&C infrastructure, seize profits, coordinate training and intelligence sharing and more, according to CNN.
"Although the department has taken significant steps to address cybercrime, it is imperative that we bring the full authorities and resources of the department to bear to confront the many dimensions and root causes of this threat," acting deputy attorney general John Carlin is reported to have written to DOJ department heads, US attorneys and the FBI on Tuesday.
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