Kuwaiti Ministry of Finance Faces Cyber Extortion: Hacker Demands $400,000 Ransom
Urgent Threat to Data Security: Inside the High-Stakes Demand and Government's Response
In a daring move, a hacker has demanded a ransom of $400,000 from the Kuwaiti Ministry of Finance. According to Gulf News, the hacker, who targeted the ministry’s systems, has issued a threat to sell the obtained data if the ransom is not paid. The demand includes payment in 15 bitcoins, equivalent to approximately $400,000. The hacker has set a deadline of 7 days for the ministry to fulfill the ransom.
Despite the threats, the ministry has asserted that it does not store data related to government employees’ salaries in its systems. The ministry reassured the public that its financial systems operate independently, ensuring the security of citizens’ data. Despite a recent revelation on September 18 that a virus has affected one of the ministry’s systems, the method of salary transfer remains unaffected.
Recent reports from a company named ‘Group IB’ indicate that Russian speakers are heavily involved in computer hacking, password theft, and the misuse of credit cards in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Russian speakers have been implicated in targeting over 6,300 electronic devices or machines in the past 7 months, stealing passwords for more than 700,000 computers or other devices, and compromising the details of over 1,300 individuals’ credit cards.
It has been noted that such incidents are less frequent in Saudi Arabia, but the United Arab Emirates has witnessed a higher number of such events. During hacking activities, hackers often exploit stolen sensitive information for their benefit, using it on social media accounts. ‘Group IB’ had previously disclosed that cybercriminals involved in cybercrimes had hacked a major recruitment company in Saudi Arabia to gain access to individuals and banks, intending to steal money from banks. Hackers involved in computer-related crimes created over 1,000 fake versions of Saudi companies to influence people through advertisements on social media, as part of a broader cybercrime campaign launched in July last year.