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Wipro receives threat mail demanding Rs 500 crore in bitcoins

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Analysts say such threats may hardly impact the operational activities of company

Ayan Pramanik  |  Bengaluru  May 6, 2017 Last Updated at 22:39 IST

Information technology (IT) like and Infosys are facing threats from unknown messengers. Barely a month after Infosys’ Chennai office received an anonymous letter, along with a packet of “anthrax” power, demanding a ransom of Rs 500 crore, has received a similar threat.

on Friday received an anonymous email demanding Rs 500 crore worth currency in as ransom by May 25, failing which its employees may be attacked using highly toxic ricin.

S Ravi, additional commissioner of police, cyber crime division of Bangalore Police, told reporters that the mail reportedly was sent to Wipro’s Sarjapura Road office reception from ‘Ramesh2@protonmail.com’. The mail said one kg of high-quality ricin would be used to kill employees, and the poison may be put in cafeteria food, toilet seats and toilet papers, the officer said.

 
Protonmail, an email service inspired by Edward Snowden, the engineer who leaked secret files of the US’ National Security Agency, encrypts the mails at both ends.

In an interview with Business Standard last year, Andy Yen, cofounder of ProtonMail, revealed that ProtonMail itself did not have the ability to read the emails of its users. 


About a month ago, an unknown messenger dropped a suspicious parcel with white powder, proclaiming it to be ‘anthrax powder’,  at Infosys’ Sholinganallur office in Chennai, and demanded Rs 500 crore in ransom. The messenger threatened to spread anthrax at the company’s campus, if the ransom was not paid. The message on a paper also contained a QR code. 


While has beefed up security measures across locations and lodged a complaint with the local cyber crime division, an investigation on the Chennai incident is still on. However, an Infosys spokesperson said the security personnel had not found anthrax in the packet later.  

In the latest case, what is surprising to the cyber experts is the demand of ransom in “So far, demands for have been in the context of against individuals using ransomware attacks. This is the first time I am hearing of a corporation being asked to pay up in to avoid an attack on their facilities,” said Sunil Abraham, executive director, The Centre for Internet & Society. 
 
A probe has also been started based on the threats against has filed a complaint with the local law enforcement authorities after receiving a threatening letter from an unidentified source. has  augmented security measures at all its office locations. There is no impact on the company’s operations. We have no further comment as the investigation is going on,” said a spokesperson. 

Analysts say such threats may hardly impact the operational activities of company since there are chances that they may turn out to be “hoax”. However, a Bengaluru-based analyst said should have strong protocol and implement that to thwart any possible attack in future.

Wipro receives threat mail demanding Rs 500 crore in bitcoins

Analysts say such threats may hardly impact the operational activities of company

Analysts say such threats may hardly impact the operational activities of company

Information technology (IT) like and Infosys are facing threats from unknown messengers. Barely a month after Infosys’ Chennai office received an anonymous letter, along with a packet of “anthrax” power, demanding a ransom of Rs 500 crore, has received a similar threat.

on Friday received an anonymous email demanding Rs 500 crore worth currency in as ransom by May 25, failing which its employees may be attacked using highly toxic ricin.


S Ravi, additional commissioner of police, cyber crime division of Bangalore Police, told reporters that the mail reportedly was sent to Wipro’s Sarjapura Road office reception from ‘Ramesh2@protonmail.com’. The mail said one kg of high-quality ricin would be used to kill employees, and the poison may be put in cafeteria food, toilet seats and toilet papers, the officer said.
 

Protonmail, an email service inspired by Edward Snowden, the engineer who leaked secret files of the US’ National Security Agency, encrypts the mails at both ends.

In an interview with Business Standard last year, Andy Yen, cofounder of ProtonMail, revealed that ProtonMail itself did not have the ability to read the emails of its users. 


About a month ago, an unknown messenger dropped a suspicious parcel with white powder, proclaiming it to be ‘anthrax powder’,  at Infosys’ Sholinganallur office in Chennai, and demanded Rs 500 crore in ransom. The messenger threatened to spread anthrax at the company’s campus, if the ransom was not paid. The message on a paper also contained a QR code. 


While has beefed up security measures across locations and lodged a complaint with the local cyber crime division, an investigation on the Chennai incident is still on. However, an Infosys spokesperson said the security personnel had not found anthrax in the packet later.  

In the latest case, what is surprising to the cyber experts is the demand of ransom in “So far, demands for have been in the context of against individuals using ransomware attacks. This is the first time I am hearing of a corporation being asked to pay up in to avoid an attack on their facilities,” said Sunil Abraham, executive director, The Centre for Internet & Society. 
 
A probe has also been started based on the threats against has filed a complaint with the local law enforcement authorities after receiving a threatening letter from an unidentified source. has  augmented security measures at all its office locations. There is no impact on the company’s operations. We have no further comment as the investigation is going on,” said a spokesperson. 

Analysts say such threats may hardly impact the operational activities of company since there are chances that they may turn out to be “hoax”. However, a Bengaluru-based analyst said should have strong protocol and implement that to thwart any possible attack in future.


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Ayan Pramanik

Business Standard

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