Argentine Migration Agency attacked by ransomware

A group of hackers NetWalker hacked into the system of the Argentine National Migration Board (DNM), demanding to pay $ 4 million in bitcoins.

The incident became known on August 27, when Argentina’s Cybersecurity Service began receiving numerous complaints from migration control posts regarding hacking of their computer systems. Customs officers found they had lost access to many Microsoft applications and shared folders. 

At first, the attackers demanded to pay $ 2 million in bitcoins for unlocking files. However, seven days later, the ransom amount increased to $ 4 million (about 355 BTC).

Employees took immediate action by shutting down central servers to prevent the virus from reaching other systems. However, as a result of the hacker attack, all Argentine immigration offices and control points were forced to suspend work for four hours. DNM management did not enter into negotiations with extortionists and does not intend to pay them money.

Later, cybersecurity experts found out that the attack was carried out by the NetWalker hacker group, which specializes in breaking into corporate networks of large organizations. Typically, after being hacked, these hackers encrypt all Microsoft applications, files and documents on the victims’ computers, demanding a ransom in cryptocurrency in exchange for decryption keys.

In June, a malware attack launched by the NetWalker group hit three universities in the United States. The University of California, San Francisco, had to pay $ 1.14 million in BTC to regain access to important research data, and Michigan State University refused to pay the ransom to hackers. According to McAfee, NetWalker hackers have managed to get more than $ 25 million from victims since March 2020 .

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