Hackers threaten to release damaging info on Trump, raise ransom

Really? At this point, what could that damaging information be against President Trump? A hacking group called REvil hit the New York law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks and has doubled its ransom demand.

REvil hacked into the firm’s server and stole confidential documents from lots of Hollywood celebrities and music stars. Contracts and personal emails were included in the 756 gigabytes stolen. The hackers also deleted or encrypted the firm’s backups. Now the firm must pay the criminals for a key to get their files back.

Allen Grubman is said to be the most prominent entertainment attorney in the world. His clientele includes Lady Gaga, Madonna, Mariah Carey, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Priyanka Chopra, Elton John, Robert De Niro, and Bette Midler. Up until yesterday, the ransom demanded by REvil was $21M. Now that number has gone to $42M, with the deadline in just a week. Along with doubling the ransom, the group is now claiming that it has some “dirty laundry” on Trump to expose, especially since this is an election year.

On Thursday, the hackers upped the ante by posting a chilling new message saying, “The ransom is now [doubled to] $42,000,000 … The next person we’ll be publishing is Donald Trump. There’s an election going on, and we found a ton of dirty laundry on time.”

They added, “Mr. Trump, if you want to stay president, poke a sharp stick at the guys, otherwise you may forget this ambition forever. And to you voters, we can let you know that after such a publication, you certainly don’t want to see him as president … The deadline is one week.

“Grubman, we will destroy your company down to the ground if we don’t see the money.”

Ok. So, that’s some standard threatening language used by hackers, right? Give us the money or else we’ll expose something really bad about you. Here’s the twist, though – Trump isn’t even a client of the firm. According to sources, Trump has never been a client, whether it was during his days in the private sector or during his presidency. It’s unclear why the hackers added Trump’s name to the ransom demand.

President Trump was elected after being called every name in the book and stories written about every rumor and innuendo possible. There were countless stories about his business dealings, his personal relationships, claims of sexual misconduct, and on and on. You name it, the story was written with a connection to Trump. The only stories that weren’t written were of drug abuse or alcohol abuse, as he has a lifetime record of abstaining from drugs and alcohol. It was a wild primary. Trump survived, overwhelmingly won the Electoral College, and became president.

This group also claimed on Thursday that they successfully hacked another prominent U.S. firm and posted a file of stolen documents on the dark web with the title “Lady Gaga”. A cybersecurity software company, Emsisoft, caught the breach. Emsisoft specializes in ransomware.

An analyst at Emsisoft, Brett Callow, said, “Companies in this situation have no good options available … Even if they pay the ransom demand, there is no guarantee the criminals will destroy the stolen data if it has a high market value. The data may still be sold or traded … In these cases, it’s possible that the criminals will attempt to extort money directly from the people whose information was exposed.”

He added that the requested ransom from the hacker group — which has previously attacked Kenneth Cole and Travelex — “was one of the largest demands ever heard,” with the previous known record demand being $25 million to an unnamed company, which was not paid.

Travelex, known for its foreign-exchange kiosks in airports and tourist sites around the world, was hacked earlier this year. The company ended up paying the equivalent of $2.3 million in ransom, though at the time that wasn’t reported. Only the cyberattack was reported.

Allen Grubman isn’t playing the game. He isn’t paying the ransom.

“His view is, if he paid, the hackers might release the documents anyway,” the source said. “Plus the FBI has stated this hack is considered an act of international terrorism, and we don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

Grubman isn’t a Trump supporter according to FEC filings in 2019 and 2020. He donated to the presidential campaigns of Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.

It’s probably a smart move to deny the hackers their ransom demand. Why trust thieves? And, it sounds as though they are using the name of Trump to garner publicity as they double their ransom demand. It’s hard to imagine that hackers have found something that would change any voter’s mind at this point.