Acer falls victim to $50 million ransomware attack

Acer logo on top of glass building with overcast sky in background
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Acer has become the latest victim of the notorious ransomware gang REvil, which has demanded a record $50 million (£36 million) from the Taiwanese PC manufacturer.

REvil previously targeted foreign exchange company Travelex and entertainment and media law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas and Sacks, clients of which include Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Elton John, and the David Bowie Estate.

However, the attack on Acer reportedly marks the gang's highest ransom demand yet, with REvil requesting $50 million (£36 million). The group has allegedly given Acer until March 28 for the company to send over funds before any stolen data is leaked.

The group is well-known for turning extortion into a lucrative business opportunity, having made more than $100 million in 2020 as well as indicating plans to raise the amount to $2 billion over the course of 2021.

REvil announced the Acer breach on their website where it presented images of allegedly stolen files, including financial spreadsheets, bank balances, and bank communications, as proof, according to Bleeping Computer, which reports that REvil offered Acer a 20% discount if the money was transferred as of before 17 March.

The company, which specialises in manufacturing laptops, desktops, and monitors, told the publication that it is “constantly under attack” and has “reported recent abnormal situations observed to the relevant law enforcement and data protection authorities in multiple countries”.

When pressed for more details to the vague statement, Acer replied that an investigation is “ongoing”

“For the sake of security, we are unable to comment on details,” the company told Bleeping Computer, without providing any information on whether it had paid the ransom. IT Pro has contacted Acer and its representatives for further comment but has yet to receive a response.

The breach is believed to be linked to the Microsoft Exchange cyber attack from earlier this month, which was orchestrated by at 'at least ten hacker groups' and affected ‘hundreds of thousands’ of victims, including in the UK. Ethical hacker Vitali Kremez told Bleeping Computer that the Revil gang had recently targeted a Microsoft Exchange server on Acer's domain.

"Advanced Intel's Andariel cyberintelligence system detected that one particular REvil affiliate pursued Microsoft Exchange weaponization," he added.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.