Failed blackmail attempt prompts hackers to leak ocean of data belonging to major companies

Updated: The data was published following an unsuccessful attempt to exhort Citycomp.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

A hacking group has published a trove of data belonging to Citycomp which appears to have exposed the data of customers, some of which are extremely well-known enterprise companies across the globe.

Citycomp is a German IT company which provides the IT backbone and infrastructure required by enterprise companies. Citycomp says it maintains over 70,000 services and storage systems, as well as providing support and maintenance services for peripherals including cash register systems and printers.

In a statement issued this week, the company said it was the victim of a "targeted" cyberattack in early April this year.

While the company said it was able to "successfully fend off" the "hacker attack" with the help of external cybersecurity experts and the State Criminal Police Office of Baden-Württemberg, it was not entirely successful -- as customer data had already been stolen.

The threat actors identities are unknown. However, it appears the attack was simply about the money, as the hackers tried to force Citycomp to pay a blackmail fee on the threat of the data entering the public domain.

Citycomp did not comply and so customer data has been released.

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"Since Citycomp does not comply with blackmail the publication of customer data could not be prevented," the IT provider says. "The stolen data has now been published by the perpetrators and Citycomp's customers were informed about it."

The leaked data has been posted to a .onion domain, which is not accessible in the "public" clear Internet. These domains can only be accessed through the Tor network.

On the website, the threat actor claims that "312,570 files in 51,025 folders and over 516GB of data" was stolen, including "financial and private information on all clients, include VAG, Ericsson, Leica, MAN, Toshiba, UniCredit, and British Telecom (BT)."

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Other Citycomp clients named in the data dump include ATOS, Grohe, Hugo Boss, Oracle, SAP, and Porsche, among others.

In the data dump, which was viewed by ZDNet, customer email addresses and telephone numbers, meetings reports, asset lists -- such as servers and other equipment connected to a customer account -- as well as some payroll records, project sheets, and accountancy statements were all available. 

Some clients were only connected to a handful of leaked documents, whereas other customer records were far more robust and extensive. The authenticity of the leaked data has not been verified at the time of writing.

The ProtonMail email address posted with the information leak is connected to a form of ransomware which encrypts files using the .snatch extension. The ransomware strain in question was discovered in December 2018.

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The -- or one -- of the alleged hackers behind the campaign spoke to the Register, telling the publication that the data currently available online is only a sample of the whole and was published as Citycomp did not pay a $5,000 ransom demand.

ZDNet has reached out to clients which appear to have been involved in the breach, including BT, Ericsson, Hugo Boss, and SAP. At the time of writing, none of the companies have responded to requests for comment. 

Update 12.36 BST: Ericsson told ZDNet that "we refrain from commenting on alleged data breaches at other companies." 

Oracle said, "Citycomp previously provided on-site hardware break/fix support to certain Oracle Retail and Food & Beverage customers in Germany. Citycomp has never had access to Oracle systems."

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