Chinese hackers deploy ransomware attack against online gamblers; $100 million USD ransom

China maintains a strict policy against illegal online gambling platforms, although its latest move seems to take things to a new level. The authorities have decided to work with the various hacking groups to their services to attack the operators of these illegal services.

According to a report by an Israeli security firm, five betting companies have been attacked by Chinese hackers, who have worked in conjunction with a threat group identified as APT27 or “Emissary Panda”. Hackers blocked access to these platforms in a kind of ransomware attack using the BitLocker tool, included in the Windows operating system.

After the hackers blocked the affected systems they sent a ransom note demanding a payment of about $100 million in Bitcoin in exchange for restoring the affected systems. In the end, companies made no payment, using their backups to restore their systems.

China has stood out for the deployment of multiple hacking operations against overseas firms, which has generated constant signaling for alleged malicious practices such as information theft. Still, these accusations are not compared against those issued against the North Korean government, which has excelled in attacks on cryptocurrency platforms.

Researchers argue that hackers did not actually expect ransom payment, but were trying to block the systems of these platforms for a sufficient time for authorities to manage to block access to these websites in China. An estimated 11 million Chinese citizens are turning to illegal betting sites, so these incidents are likely to continue to be reported.