Greek Banks Targeted by Hackers Demanding Bitcoin Ransom

Journalist:
November 30, 2015

Authorities in Greece have banded together a special team of cyber sleuths to safeguard Greek banks from cyber-attacks after a malicious hacker group demanded a bitcoin ransom with the threat of further DDoS attacks.

In yet another instance of the infamous hacked group ‘Armada Collective’ targeting banks, the online operations of three Greek banks were rendered offline for a few hours last week, in a demonstration of their malicious hacking abilities. The group threated to attack again unless the banks paid a bitcoin ransom before Monday. The deadline is today, as reported by Greek publication Kathimereini.

Greece’s central bank along with a specially set up unit of Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) and the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) are currently on guard and investigating the ransom demands and hacking threat of the Armada Collective, a group which targeted three unnamed Greek banks and the country’s central bank.

The Economic Times cited unconfirmed reports of another cyber-attack that occurred today, with one senior banker saying:

Last week was a warning, today there appears to have been another incident.

A relentless DDoS attack is said to be behind last week’s disruption that temporarily halted at least three banks’ electronic transactions. The banker insisted the hackers hadn’t accessed any customer records or information.

Extortion via DDoS Attacks and Ransomware

A DDoS (Distributed-Denial-of-Service) attack is the modus operandi of the Armada Collective, much like most other cyber extortionist groups. The same group is also reportedly behind the attack targeting ProtonMail, an encrypted email provider based in Switzerland. Several Thai banks were also targets of the same group recently. Earlier this year, cybercriminals struck the Bank of China with a DDoS attack, although this particular incident isn’t attributed to the Armada Collective.

There have been several dozen known incidents relating to DDoS attacks targeting banks, media houses and public institutions in Hong Kong alone, last year. Last week, a UAE-based bank in Sharjah was the target of a single hacker who threatened to reveal customer data if he wasn’t paid a ransom in bitcoin.

Also read: Ransomware Racket Nets Developers $325 Million in Bitcoin: Report

Malware authors have also used ransomware as an effective means to extort tens of thousands of individuals from all over the world. A recent report notes that malicious attackers behind the Cryptowall ransomware — commonly known as the most dreaded ransomware strain around – have extorted over $300 million through demanding Bitcoin ransom from targeted victims.

Cryptowall also struck a Sherriff’s office in Dickson County where a ransom of $500 in Bitcoin was paid. Such incidents including numerous and successful attempts of extorting every day civilians have resulted in a massive international effort to look for the anonymous authors behind Cryptowall.

One rumor from today even cites the FBI assisting the targeted Greek banks to effectively quell the threat of the cyber attacks.

CCN was also the target of a recent attack wherein extortionists managed to temporarily disrupt the website for a couple of hours. The extortionist sent in an email that demanded 2 BTC, in an extortion attempt. If you are a cyber-virtuoso with the skill to track down those behind the attack, there is a 5 BTC reward – if your information helps in the filing of a successful police report. Further details are available here.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Last modified (UTC): October 18, 2019 03:52

Samburaj Das @sambdas

Samburaj is the Editor for CCN, among the earliest and foremost publications covering financial and blockchain news. He has authored over 2,000 articles for CCN. Email him samburaj(@)ccn.com or find him barely tweeting @sambdas