Ransomed, a recently discovered ransomware group, has adopted a new strategy by leveraging the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to extort victims into paying ransoms. The group exploits data protection laws such as GDPR to threaten victims with substantial fines if they refuse to comply with their demands. By setting ransom payment amounts lower than potential fines for data security violations, Ransomed aims to increase the likelihood of victims paying.
Fines for GDPR infringements can range from hundreds to millions of euros. In a notable case in May, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) was hit with a record-breaking $1.3 billion penalty. However, most of this money will remain in Ireland, where Meta’s EU operations are based. Ransomed’s disclosed ransom demands vary from €50,000 to €200,000.
Ransomed has adopted unconventional tactics that distinguish them from other ransomware groups. For instance, they publicly list two cryptocurrency wallets for Bitcoin payments—a departure from the typical practice of not revealing wallet addresses. This unique approach may contribute to their success in pressuring victims.
It is still early to determine if Ransomed will prove to be an advanced persistent threat (APT). While they have provided screenshots as proof of compromised companies, the reliability of this evidence remains unconfirmed. Flashpoint, a cybersecurity intelligence company, suggests that further evidence is needed to assess the impact and scale of Ransomed’s operations.
Additionally, Ransomed has been linked to BreachForums—a cybercriminal platform facing its own set of challenges and controversies—further complicating the assessment of their activities.
Switching gears slightly, Facebook users have been encountering difficulties related to the platform’s fight against fake accounts. Innocent bystanders are getting caught up in Facebook’s efforts and experiencing hacked or disabled accounts that could take weeks to recover without effective customer support. Experts advise users affected by these issues to be patient and persistent in their recovery attempts, as the process can be time-consuming. Frustrated users have taken to review sites to express their challenges in reclaiming their accounts.
In conclusion, Ransomed’s exploitation of GDPR for ransomware extortion highlights a new tactic used by cybercriminals. Their use of data protection laws to threaten victims with fines serves as an additional pressure point. The extent of Ransomed’s success and impact is still uncertain, requiring further evidence and analysis. Meanwhile, Facebook users continue to face challenges with hacked or disabled accounts, necessitating patience and persistence in the recovery process.