A group of hackers stole documents from investment bank WestPark Capital and threatened to release the data unless the bank pays a ransom.
The hacker collective, which calls itself TheDarkOverlord, claimed responsibility for leaking some of the bank’s sensitive information and said it would divulge more if the California-based financial institution did not pay up.
According to Los Angeles Times, TheDarkOverlord group obtained access to numerous files, which included background checks, and contained data, such as Social Security numbers and private stock offering details.
“WestPark Capital is a 'full-service investment banking and securities brokerage firm' whose CEO, Richard Rappaport, spat in our face after making our signature and, quite frankly, handsome, business proposal and so our hand has been forced,” TheDarkOverlord wrote last week.
In an online chat with Motherboard, a spokesperson for TheDarkOverlord said:
“We made a handsome proposal to Mr. Rappaport that would involve us withholding this news. However, Mr. Rappaport chose to not cooperate with us in what could have been a very clean and quiet business opportunity for himself.”
Big bank shakedowns from hackers are nothing new, and many targets would rather just pay up than face the consequences.
In some cases, the companies that pay hackers to back down end up becoming even bigger targets because they show a willingness to engage. But if firms are able to trace back the threats, they may be able to determine how likely the criminals are to follow through if their demands are not met.
“There are some groups who typically will go away if you don’t pay them, but there’s no guarantee that’s going to happen,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent Richard Jacobs told MarketWatch, noting that not all of the companies that are targeted will actually experience attacks.