South Korean hosting co. pays $1m ransom to end eight-day outage

Talked scum down from $4.4m after they waltzed through unpatched legacy mess

A South Korean web hosting company is forking out just over US$1 million to ransomware scum after suffering more than eight days of nightmare.

Nayana first announced the attack on June 10, saying customer video files and its database had been encrypted, and promising to work to recover the data.

More than 150 servers were hit, hosting the sites of more than 3,400 mostly small business customers.

After a lengthy negotiation with the hackers, a demand for Bitcoin worth 5 billion won (nearly $4.4 million) was trimmed to around $1 million (397.6 Bitcoin), and the company paid up. The ransom was demanded in three instalments; so far, two have been made.

Trend Micro reckons the attack used a version of Erebus ported to Linux.

Trend says at the time of the attack, Nayana was running a witch's brew of vulnerable systems – an old Linux kernel (2.6.24.2) compiled in 2008, Apache 1.3.36 and PHP 5.1.4 (both dating from 2006).

As well as getting schooled in why systems need to be kept up to date, Nayana says it's working with the Korea Internet and Security Agency and other “cyber criminal investigators”.

The company's next recovery status announcement is due today (Tuesday, 20 June). ®

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