A group of hackers claim to have stolen a trove of “dirty laundry” on President Donald Trump and are threatening to release it unless the law firm they stole it from hands over $42 million.
The New York Post reports that the hacker group REvil launched a successful attack against celebrity attorney Allen Grubman, the most prominent entertainment attorney in the world, whose firm represents stars including Lady Gaga, Madonna, Mariah Carey, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Priyanka Chopra and Bette Midler, swiping 756GB of confidential documents, including contracts and personal emails from a host of Hollywood and music stars from his firm’s servers.
Hackers initially asked the law firm, Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, for $21 million, but they have since doubled their ransom on Thursday after claiming that they’d also obtained information on President Trump.
The hacking group also reportedly deleted or encrypted the firm’s backup files. The only way the stolen files can be decrypted is to pay the criminals for a key.
The Post reports that Grubman is refusing to negotiate with the hackers. A source said, “His view is, if he paid, the hackers might release the documents anyway. Plus the FBI has stated this hack is considered an act of international terrorism, and we don’t negotiate with terrorists.”
On Thursday, the hackers posted a new message warning, “The ransom is now [doubled to] $42,000,000 … The next person we’ll be publishing is Donald Trump. There’s an election going on, and we found a ton of dirty laundry on time.”
They added, “Mr. Trump, if you want to stay president, poke a sharp stick at the guys, otherwise you may forget this ambition forever. And to you voters, we can let you know that after such a publication, you certainly don’t want to see him as president … The deadline is one week.
“Grubman, we will destroy your company down to the ground if we don’t see the money.”
On Thursday, the hackers claimed to have hacked another prominent US firm and also posted a file of stolen documents titled “Lady Gaga” on their site on the dark web.
An analyst at Emsisoft, Brett Callow, said, “Companies in this situation have no good options available … Even if they pay the ransom demand, there is no guarantee the criminals will destroy the stolen data if it has a high market value. The data may still be sold or traded … In these cases, it’s possible that the criminals will attempt to extort money directly from the people whose information was exposed.”
Grubman’s law firm said in a statement to Page Six, “Our elections, our government and our personal information are under escalating attacks by foreign cybercriminals. Law firms are not immune from this malicious activity.
“Despite our substantial investment in state-of-the-art technology security, foreign cyberterrorists have hacked into our network and are demanding $42 million as ransom. We are working directly with federal law enforcement and continue to work around the clock with the world’s leading experts to address this situation.
“The leaking of our clients’ documents is a despicable and illegal attack by these foreign cyberterrorists who make their living attempting to extort high-profile U.S. companies, government entities, entertainers, politicians, and others. Previously, the United States Department of Defense, HBO, Goldman Sachs, as well as numerous state and local governments, have been victims of similar cybercriminal attacks.
“We have been informed by the experts and the FBI that negotiating with or paying ransom to terrorists is a violation of federal criminal law. Even when enormous ransoms have been paid, the criminals often leak the documents anyway.
“We are grateful to our clients for their overwhelming support and for recognizing that nobody is safe from cyberterrorism today. We continue to represent our clients with the utmost professionalism worthy of their elite stature, exercising the quality, integrity and excellence that have made us the number-one entertainment and media law firm in the world.”