By Katie Mulvaney | Providence Journal
n unknown person or group held a Providence law firm captive for months by encrypting its files and then demanding $25,000 in ransom paid in anonymous cyber currency to restore access, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court. Moses Afonso Ryan Ltd. is suing its insurer, Sentinel Insurance Co., for breach of contract and bad faith after it denied its claim for lost billings over the three-month period the documents were frozen last year by the so-called “ransomware” attack.
During the time its system was disabled, the law firm negotiated ransom to be paid in bitcoins, cyber currency that is virtually impossible to trace, the suit says. The firm then had to re-negotiate those terms after the initial key to de-crypt its records failed to work. It arranged to purchase more bitcoins in exchange for other tools to recover its documents.
“These types of virtual holdups are becoming increasingly common. Every company needs to have an affirmative plan so its business is not held hostage.”