Hackers demand bitcoin ransom from Greek banks

Resurrection of Greek stock exchange begins

The hacker group, Armada Collective, have demanded a bitcoin ransom worth €7m from each Greek lender they threatened.

Over the past five days, the hackers targeted three separate lenders and warned that they would destroy the unnamed banks’ websites if they did not pay the ransom. At first, the attackers bombarded the websites with requests so that they crashed and last Thursday, they were able to disrupt electronic transactions for a short period, according to the Financial Times.

A police official ensured that customer information was protected. “No bank responded to this extortion, so the same hackers tried again at the weekend and today. But we had strengthened our defence in the meantime, so no disruptions took place,” the official stated.

The FT also reports that after the Greek government introduced new capital controls earlier this year in order to prevent a bank from bringing down the financial system and force Greece out of the euro, internet banking has grown rapidly.

Paul Vlissidis, technical director at cyber security group NCC, said that the Armada Collective focuses on businesses that are vulnerable. “In effect, they say: “Give us bitcoin or we will take you off the internet.” They claim to be able to do significant amounts of damage.” Vlissidis also commented on how the amount of bitcoin that is often requested is so small that the banks would be more inclined to just pay it and move on.

However, there is no way of proving that the new attackers are from the Armada Collective group as the hackers could be attempting to imitate the group. Many email providers have been attacked by those who claim to be from this group, with the Swiss government warning in September that they had been blackmailing local email providers.

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