Law Firm Hackers Threaten To Release Dirt On Trump In A Week If They’re Not Paid In Full, Double Ransom To $42M
Hackers who stole confidential documents from one of the world’s most prominent entertainment lawyers claim they have dirt on President Donald Trump and they’ve doubled their ransom to $42 million.
Hacking group REvil got into attorney Allen Grubman’s server and stole 756 gigabytes of confidential documents including client contracts, personal emails and private correspondence, Page Six reported. They also deleted or encrypted the firm’s backups. The only way they can be decrypted is to pay the hackers for a key.
Grubman’s law firm has represented A-list Hollywood stars and musicians including Sean “Puffy” Combs, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga and Priyanka Chopra. REvil claims to have personal information on Nicki Minaj and Run DMC, among others, Daily Beast reported. Even Facebook is among the affected companies, according to a Variety report.
Originally, the ransom was $21 million, but the hackers upped the ante on Thursday, posting a new message saying, “The ransom is now (doubled to) $42,000,000 … 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.”
They added, “Mr. Trump, if you want to stay president, poke a sharp stick at the guys, otherwise you may forget this ambition forever. And to you voters, we can let you know that after such a publication, you certainly don’t want to see him as president … The deadline is one week.
“Grubman, we will destroy your company down to the ground if we don’t see the money.”
How or why the hackers connected Trump with Grubman is unclear. The president has never been a Grubman client, either during his administration or as a private businessman.
On Thursday, the hackers posted a file of stolen documents titled “Lady Gaga” on their site on the dark web. Cybersecurity software company Emsisoft, which specializes in ransomware, spotted it, Page Six reported.
The previous known record for a hacker ransom was $25 million to an unnamed company, according to Brett Callow, an analyst at Emsisoft.
“Criminal ransomware groups have started changing tactics now that many companies are taking more precautions, such as buying insurance and backup systems,” Security Boulevard reported. After stealing data, the attackers threaten to release it publicly or sell it on the dark web. Either way, it’s used as more leverage against the victim because the backup might not be enough.
“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,” Callow said. “The data may still be sold or traded … In these cases, it’s possible that the criminals will attempt to extort money directly from the people whose information was exposed.”
Earlier this week, the hackers posted screengrabs of a Madonna contract in an attempt to prove their threats were credible, Daily Beast reported. The same group reportedly extorted $2.3 million from U.K. currency-exchange company Travelex.
Grubman’s law firm, Grubman, Shire, Meiselas and Sacks, said in a statement it’s working directly with federal law enforcement.
“We have been informed by the experts and the FBI that negotiating with or paying ransom to terrorists is a violation of federal criminal law,” the lawfirm said.
Maybe Trump will personally negotiate with the REvil hackers, since the president is apparently above federal criminal law and considers himself “the greatest hostage negotiator … in the history of the United States.”
Trump has displayed a willingness to negotiate with hostages, reversing decades of U.S. hostage policy, The New Yorker reported in February.
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For example, the Trump Administration claims it negotiated the release of Princeton grad student Xiyue Wang in exchange for Iranian scientist Masoud Soleimani, who was imprisoned in the U.S. for sanctions violations.
These deals appear to defy the no-concessions policy, especially since the Trump Administration designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which often controls American prisoners in Iran, a foreign terrorist organization, the New Yorker reported.
In April 2019, Trump tweeted, “President Donald J. Trump is the greatest hostage negotiator that I know of in the history of the United States,” quoting Robert O’Brien.