Hackers compromised the billing systems of Pakistan’s biggest electricity producer K-Electric with a ransom of $ 3.8 million

Pakistan’s largest electricity producer K-Electric – also the only electricity supplier in the city of Karachi – suffered a ransomware attack this week. Specifically, the hackers requested more than $ 7 million in Bitcoin from K-Electric before reinstating their services.

Hackers compromised the billing systems of K-Electric with a ransom of $ 3.8 million

K-Electric served more than 2.5 million customers in the country and faced disruptions in online payment and payment services following the attack. K-Electric engineers discovered the attack on September 7, but the power supply in the city was not affected.

Hackers used the “NetWalker” attack to compromise the company – a strain discovered in 2019 that infected popular software applications running on Microsoft Windows, such as Office, Word, and Excel, according to a report from the cybersecurity website Bleeping Computer. Once deployed, NetWalker will encrypt the data on the victim’s computer and disable file access until the ransom is paid off.

The hacker followed the same steps with K-Electric. After infecting the utility, they demanded $ 3.8 million in ransom pay in Bitcoin through the Tor anonymous browser.

The hackers said:

“If there is no payment made by September 15, the price increased by two times and will be $ 7.7 million.”

The same message noted that the hacker operator stole unencrypted files from K-Electric before carrying out the attack. However, it does not reveal the exact type of data they have stolen or the total amount of files stolen.

K-Electric said:

“The KE teams have initiated consultation with international information security experts and are also collaborating with local authorities in this regard.”

The attack came shortly after the Argentine border forces were infected with the same NetWalker virus earlier this week. The hacker demanded $ 4 million in that case, but the Argentine authorities refused to pay.

According to the report, enterprise ransomware like NetWalker – which targets companies instead of individuals – is a growing threat worldwide, accounting for more than $ 25 million in ransom for hackers. And that is something that Blockchain cannot fix.

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