Retail Giant Media Markt Hit With $50,000,000 Bitcoin Ransomware Demand in Alleged Attack: Report

Europe’s largest consumer electronics chain is being targeted in a ransomware attack demanding tens of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin (BTC).

According to BleepingComputer, German-based retailer Media Markt is the victim of a scam where bad actors stole its data and initially demanded nearly a quarter of a billion dollars worth of BTC.

The attack, which was allegedly initiated by international hacking group Hive on Sunday night, saw fraudsters encrypt all of the company’s data which then prompted a shutdown of its IT systems. The group then demanded $240 million in BTC as ransom in exchange for a file decryptor.

However, the ransom amount was then reportedly reduced to $50 million.

In a statement given to BleepingComputer, Media Markt says,

“The MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group and its national organizations became the target of a cyberattack. The company immediately informed the relevant authorities and is working at full speed to identify the affected systems and repair any damage caused as quickly as possible…

MediaMarktSaturn continues to be available to its customers via all sales channels and is working intensively to ensure that all services will be available again without restriction as soon as possible.”

The cyberattack comes after Hive allegedly targeted Memorial Health System in August, prompting the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to issue a warning about the ransomware gang.

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Featured Image: Shutterstock/zeber/Vladimir Sazonov


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US Senator Warren introduces bill to study crypto’s role in ransomware

As cryptocurrency adoption continues apace in the United States,  lawmakers want to better understand how it’s used — for both legal and illegal purposes.

The Ransom Disclosure Act, introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Deborah Ross, would require victims of ransomware attacks to disclose information about ransom payments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The bill, introduced Oct. 5, aims to gather critical data on fiat and cryptocurrency payments and protect investors from cybercrimes.

In an ongoing effort to curb illicit financial activities in the U.S., Sen. Warren’s legislation aims to develop “a fuller picture” of ransomware attacks:

“My bill with Congresswoman Ross would set disclosure requirements when ransoms are paid and allow us to learn how much money cybercriminals are siphoning from American entities to finance criminal enterprises — and help us go after them.”

The bill will also support a study to find links between cryptocurrencies and their role in ransomware attacks, led by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The gathered information will be used to provide recommendations for improving the nation’s cybersecurity.

As Congresswoman Ross pointed out, U.S. investors are not yet required to report ransomware payments, which according to her, is key to countering ransomware attacks. The new legislation “will implement important reporting requirements, including the amount of ransom demanded and paid, and the type of currency used,” she said.

The bill would require ransomware victims in the U.S. to disclose ransoms within 48 hours of payment through a website to be set up by the DHS.

Related: Small business advocacy group recommends US congress ‘clarify the status of digital assets’

While federal authorities continue to introduce bills to regulate the crypto market, a report shared by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) urges Congress to “clarify the status of digital assets to make clear when it is a security.”

Moreover, a recent bill from Oct. 4, the Clarity for Digital Tokens Act of 2021,” requests the SEC for a safe harbor for certain token projects. Proposed by Representative Patrick McHenry, the bill suggests an amendment to the Securities Act of 1933 that would allow projects to offer cryptocurrency tokens without registering with authorities for up to three years.