Hackers are threatening to dump a bunch of confidential documents relating to the 9/11 terror attacks if the companies involved do not pay out a hefty sum.
The group, who go by the ominous sounding name of The Dark Overlord, has been blackmailing individuals and organizations including Hiscox Syndicates Ltd and Lloyds of London, and claim to have hijacked 18,000 secret documents, Motherboard reports. The hackers are threatening to release the documents in stages until a ransom is received in Bitcoin.
Already, The Dark Overlord has leaked some of the more minor files as "proof" and they say that there are more damaging documents to come if their demands are not met. Some of those already dropped include references to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transport Security Administration (TSA), and several law firms.
Within the 18,000-strong cache, the hackers also claim to have documents related to law firm handling cases linked to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
"We'll be providing many answers about 9/11 conspiracies through our 18,000 secret documents leak," The Dark Overlord tweeted on New Year's Eve.
The extortion appears to be a bid to exploit the various conspiracy theories regarding the 2001 terrorist attack.
According to the group's announcement on Pastebin, they have confidential data from different insurers and legal firms that have handled cases related to 9/11 – although precisely what this data reveals about the attacks is unknown. The announcement specifically names three companies, Hiscox Syndicates Ltd, Lloyds of London, and Silverstein Properties.
A spokesperson from Hiscox told Motherboard their own systems were unaffected by the incident but that data from a case a law firm handled for Hiscox related to litigation on the 9/11 attacks was likely taken.
The Dark Overlord has also threatened any individuals involved in the cases, announcing:
"If you're one of the dozens of solicitor firms who was involved in the litigation, a politician who was involved in the case, a law enforcement agency who was involved in the investigations, a property management firm, an investment bank, a client of a client, a reference of a reference, a global insurer, or whoever else, you're welcome to contact our e-mail below and make a request to formally have your documents and materials withdrawn from any eventual public release of the materials. However, you will be paying us."
This is just the latest project orchestrated by the group. In 2017, they stole episodes of Orange is the New Black, which they then released ahead of schedule, saying Netflix had failed to meet their demands. The group also claimed to have access to dozens more shows from ABC, National Geographic, Fox, and IFC, including at the time unaired episodes of New Girl and It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia.
It's not just law firms and television networks that have fallen victim to the hacking for ransom. The group has also targeted medical centers and private companies, including an adhesive, glue and tape family business called Gorilla Glue.