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A Familiar Tale as Bitcoin Extortionists Target German Bank’s Customers
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A Familiar Tale as Bitcoin Extortionists Target German Bank’s Customers

by Francisco MemoriaNovember 29, 2016

Bitcoin extortionists have hacked a high-end European bank several days ago, and now blackmailing its customers. Valartis, a Chinese-owned bank in Lichtenstein, has reportedly been hacked by unknown extortionists, according to the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

The hackers are demanding Valartis’ customers 10% of their life savings, paid in Bitcoin so they can  protect their anonymity. If they do not comply by the 7th of December, the hackers will reportedly release all of their account details. These will then be sent to finance authorities and the media.

According to Chief Financial Officer Fond Chi Wah, the bank did not know of any money losses and that customers who might have been affected were informed. He said in a statement:

The attacker did not obtain details of the account statement or asset data

The bank has recently sold a majority stake to CityChamp Watch & Jewellrey Group Ltd., a Hong-Kong holding company. The hackers obtained unauthorized access to the banks e-banking system, which therefore allowed them to obtain information on payment orders.

High Net worth Individuals among the Blackmailed

Valartis Banks’ customers include a lot of high net worth individuals, including German politicians and actors. 10% of their lifetime savings would amount to a lot of Bitcoins.

According to The Register, three letters written in German disclosed by Bild am Sonntag claim several gigabytes worth of account information have been taken since October. These letters threaten the victims with revealing evidence of alleged tax evasion.

The attackers have reportedly chosen the bank in Lichtenstein, squeezed in between Austria and Switzerland, because it refused to pay them for their security services. As a result, they resorted to extortion tactics in order to get paid.

The bitcoin addresses the bitcoin extortionists wanted the ransoms to go to were blocked by Bild. Hence, it’s for now impossible to tell if any ransom has been paid or not.

Image from Shutterstock.


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