US President Donald Trump has become the target of a ransomware gang that has stolen nearly one terabyte of legal secrets from celebrities and entertainers.
The criminal group has now demanded a ransom of $42 million in cryptocurrency, saying they will expose dirty secrets of the American leader if their price is not met within a week.
An unprecedented demand
According to Pagesix, the most distinguished entertainment attorney in the world, Attorney Allen Grubman, was being forced by hackers who attacked his law firm to pay $21 million until recently.
The group, known as "REvil," invaded the firm's server and acquired more than 756 gigabytes of confidential data consisting of contracts and personal documents from several Hollywood and music stars.
Backups for the files have also been deleted or encrypted, and the only way it can be decrypted is to pay the ransomware gang their demand to get the key.
The REvil ransomware gang, which goes by the name Sodinokibi shared a new message on May 14 stating the ransom they demanded has now been doubled, with Trump's "dirty laundry" secrets being the subject of exchange.
The gang said, "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," as reported by Cointelegraph.
The group advised the president to urge the law firm to pay the demands within a week if he valued his position as leader of the United States and told voters that the information they had in hand was enough to discredit Trump as president.
Failure to comply with the ransom, the group, has set to release the information throughout nine stages. The payment is preferred to be in Monero, a digital currency type, but Bitcoin can also be used, albeit at a higher price.
Grubman, however, refuses to succumb to the pressure and allegedly shared that the president sees the information going public whether or not he pays the amount. The FBI also stated that the attack is considered international terrorism and that the US does not negotiate with terrorists.
The attorney has also been threatened by the criminal group, saying, "Grubman, we will destroy your company down to the ground if we don't see the money."
No information is known about the connection between Grubman and Trump as the president has been a client of the attorney.
The hackers struck once again on Thursday, claiming another US firm has fallen to their expertise while also posting on the dark web, a file that contained stolen documents with the title "Lady Gaga."
Negotiating with terrorists
Emsisoft, a cybersecurity software company, specializing in ransomware, had one of its analysts, Brett Callow, look into the file.
Callow stated that "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, the criminals may attempt to extort money directly from the people whose information was exposed."
The $42 million ransom, Callow said, is one of the highest demand ever made, which is only followed by $25 million that was not paid by an unnamed company.