Hacker in Hong Kong Arrested For Bitcoin Blackmail
A 30 year old computer technician in Hong Kong was arrested under suspicion of being behind the cyberattacks against two travel agencies. Authorities have been in search of the man who held the names, passports and phone numbers of up to 20,000 people and was looking for a ransom of 1 Bitcoin per company.
The man was arrested in his home on Cheung Chau Island by the Hong Kong Security and Technology Crime Bureau Saturday night. He will face years of imprisonment if the devices they confiscated from his home and workplace reveal any evidence. While charges have not been made, investigators are questioning him and looking for possible accomplices. In Hong Kong, blackmail can be punishable by a sentence of up to 14 years in prison.
Big Line Holiday and Goldjoy Holidays both reported the hack on January 1st and 2nd respectively. The companies were told to send 1 Bitcoin each to a newly opened wallet before Saturday or the information would be released. It turns out that the information was not 100% truly stolen but actually locked by the hacker. Both agencies since have upgraded their security protocols and apologized to users.
This incident is just another on the list of “Blackmail for Bitcoin.” In November, Worldwide Package Travel Service was also hacked and asked for Bitcoin. The number of incidents within the travel sector specifically has troubled the Security and Technology Crime Bureau. Government money is set aside to assist in the implementation of security for travel companies. They deal with a lot of sensitive data that could be detrimental if released. The trend is growing but hopefully we see an increase soon in security for many of these companies.