The Great Email Hack of 2016 is becoming the Great Email Hack of Forever.
It appears that Russian hackers are targeting progressive groups in the U.S., hacking their emails and threatening to release embarrassing emails if they do not pay an extortion, in bitcoin.
According to Bloomberg News, at least a dozen groups have been hit with extortion attempts post the 2016 election. To prove that the hackers really have the emails, they provide samples of the stolen emails.
In one case, a non-profit and a prominent liberal donor discussed how to use grant money to cover costs for anti-Trump protesters.
Demands have ranged from about $30,000 to $150,000 – payable in bitcoin.
Organizations such as The Center for American Progress and Arabella Advisors are two organizations who sources say have been asked to pay ransoms.
Not surprisingly, CAP has denied the whole thing.
Assuming all this is true, the groups being targeted are likely not very happy.
According to cyber security researchers, the day after the election, the FSB targeted the personal emails of hundreds of people, mostly with a Democratic leaning.
Of course, today it might be liberal groups and tomorrow it might be conservative groups. It could be about money. Or about politics. It could be one group. Or several. With different agendas.
Until people start taking cyber security seriously, it’s going to be pretty easy pickings for the bad guys.
Take the DNC hack, for example. Reports are that the email telling Podesta to click on a link because his email was hacked was an obvious fake. That his I.T. group told him it was OK was embarrassing.
There are a few encrypted email solutions that are way more secure than traditional email. And less convenient to use.
Alternatively, people could stop sending emails that would be embarrassing if discovered.
There are actually many things that people can do to improve security. Most cost money. And require people to change their habits. But they only work if people take the problem seriously and are willing to change their ways to deal with it.
In the case of these extortionists, it is never safe to assume that if you pay the extortion that you will keep your secrets safe. They might leak them anyway. Ponder that.
Information for this post came from Bloomberg.