Mexican state oil company, Pemex has to shut down less than five percent of its computers due to cyberattack. The oil giant said that hackers demand 565 bitcoins, worth about $5 million at the press time.

The hack which was detected on Sunday locked users out of their computers. However, the company said that only a small portion of the company’s computers was affected due to the hacking incident. And fortunately, most of its operations remain unaffected, according to Pemex.

It was reported by Reuters on Wednesday, stating that hackers targeted Pemex via malicious programs that affected supply chains, manufacturing, and other systems – as per the reports, hackers were ready to remove the malicious programs upon receiving 565 bitcoins in return. According to Reuters, the ransom note on Pemex computers was pointed to a darknet website affiliated with “DoppelPaymer” which is a type of ransomware.

Pemex had missed a deadline for a special price – hacker

More so, an email was sent with the deadline of 48 hours, forcing Pemex to transfer 565 bitcoins. Interestingly, upon asking hackers via a given email address, the apparent hackers replied Reuters, stating that “Pemex had missed a deadline for a special price”.

Pemex still had time to meet their bitcoin demand and would not comment further while the new deadline was pending, said apparent hacker in an email. 

Pemex oil giant owns over USD 400 billion worth of assets but reportedly, the firm is under heavy debts, showing the downward sentiment of its oil production. However, as per Reuter, Pemex in a statement assured that the loss due to ransomware was not significant and mentioned: “Let’s avoid rumors and disinformation”.

Also, as per its employees, the company uses WhatsApp to communicate its employees as they can’t access their emails at the moment. Another source reportedly informed media that “In finances, all the computers are off, there could eventually be problems with payments,”.

DoppelPaymer is relatively a new part of ransomware which earlier caused a similar loss in Chile’s Agriculture Ministry and the town of Edcouch in Texas. An anonymous source told Reuters that Pemex was using software patches to reconnect with unaffected computers as well as to wipe infected computers.

In a nutshell, there is no specific solution to these types of cyberattacks and bitcoin is becoming the potential source of income for them to demand if the victim needs to remove malicious programs.

Image Source – Flickr 

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