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French telco giant Altice reportedly hit by Hive ransomware attack

Dark web listings indicate that the French multinational was attacked in early August, but the company has made no announcement

The Altice logo is shown on a phone, while an out of focus version of the same logo shows in white on a wall

French telecom giant Altice has reportedly been hit by a ransomware attack by the Hive hacker group.

The website RedPacket Security, which produces reports based on data scraped from the dark web, lists Altice as having been subject to a Hive ransomware attack on 9th August, with disclosure of the attack coming through on 25th August.

It's currently unclear how large the attack was, or what data may have been affected, but RedPacket's listing states that files are currently available to download through the Tor browser.

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Altice is the second largest telecommunications company in France, behind Orange. Headquartered in the Netherlands, it serves millions of customers in Western Europe, Israel and the Caribbean.

The company formerly operated a US subsidiary, but after going public in 2017 this was spun off into Altice USA, a separately managed company that is still headed by Altice founder and chairman Patrick Drahi.

In 2021, Altice acquired a 12.1% stake in BT under direction by Drahi. This was increased to an 18% stake in December 2021, bringing the company’s total state in BT up to 18% and making it the largest BT shareholder. In response, the government announced in May that it would investigate the acquisition of shares for the benefit of national security.

However, just days ago the government stated in a press release that “no further action” would be taken on the acquisition of the shares, and consequently Altice will retain its large hold on BT for the foreseeable future.

Hive was first identified as a ransomware group in June 2021, and since has been used in attacks such those made recently against Costa Rican health providers.

In July, Microsoft warned that Hive’s threat actors had developed a more sophisticated variant of the ransomware written in the coding language Rust, with increased efficiency at encrypting the files of victims and containing parameters that are harder to identify and remedy in infected systems.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise, with one in 40 organisations now hit by threat actors and providers of critical infrastructure at increasing risk

IT Pro has approached Altice for comment. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

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