Israeli Software Firm Goes Behind Regulator’s Back to Pay $250,000 in BTC Ransom
An Israel-based company reportedly paid $250,000 in Bitcoin for a ransom payment demanded by hackers that threatened to shut down its systems after a ransomware attack.
According to a source quoted by Calcalist on June 14, Sapiens International Corp. N.V. — a Nasdaq and Tel Aviv-listed software company — didn’t report the decision to the securities’ regulators of either the U.S. or Israel.
The ransomware attack happened at some point between March and April, when the COVID-19 outbreak exploded across the globe, forcing most of the company’s employees to switch to remote work.
A suspected security breach during the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak
Sapiens employs around 2,500 people globally, and 900 of them are in Israel. Although there are no further details on what ransomware gang is behind the attack, the hackers could have taken advantage of the security weaknesses discovered during migration to remote work.
The company has not officially referenced the attack, neither to confirm nor deny the ransom payment in Bitcoin (BTC) reported by the Israeli media.
Most of Sapiens’ client base is located in the U.S. and Europe, while its secondary markets are in South Africa and Asia Pacific.
Sapiens’ ransom payment is higher than the average
The article highlights that the figure is high for a ransomware attack, considering that a report from the cyber company Coveware said in 2019 that the average ransom request in 2019 was $40,000, and the average attack lasted 12 days.
In early June, Cointelegraph reported that the NetWalker ransomware gang had attacked Michigan State University, or MSU. At the time, the gang threatened to leak students’ records and financial documents. However, the university’s officials said that they will not pay the ransom.