RealTime IT News

UK Crackers Holding Corporate Files Hostage for Ransom

UK crackers hacked into the systems of 12 multinational companies and are holding stolen information from one company ransom for as much as £10 million ($16 million).

According a report in London's The Times, the invasion is considered one of the most serious security breaches in the country.

The acts are suspected to be the work of a group, which is also suspected of offering its deviant services for hire, accessed the source codes from the companies and threatened to crash the multinationals' systems.

Visa, one of the companies hit by the crackers, told Times reporters that it could lose tens of millions in British pounds if the threat was carried out. CD Universe was also blackmailed after hundreds of thousands of customer credit card files were pirated, possibly by the same group, and is facing unspecified ransom demands.

Visa (VISA) received its ransom demand last month by phone and by e-mail, which The Times says were accessed in mid-July, but news of the blackmail scheme was not confirmed until last week.

Police believe that the attacks may be linked to the recent attempt on the Virgin Group's e-mail system, and may be the hired work of information brokers, the report said.

The group is believed to be communicating via e-mail and online chat.

Scotland Yard is focusing the search on known crackers in England and Scotland. James Grant, who works for a Scottish computer company, has been questioned by police concerning the heist.

However, the investigators still maintain that it is possible that the incidents may not be connected to a group, the report said.