A hacker or group of hackers going by the name of The Dark Overlord has told Forbes they’re simply out for Bitcoin in return for data they claim is linked to litigation for the September 11 terror attacks.
When asked if the alleged attacks affecting major insurance outfits Hiscox and Lloyd’s of London were carried out to stoke 9/11 conspiracy theories, the group’s emailed answer read: “We’re doing this to fuel our Bitcoin wallets.”
The Dark Overlord has long perpetrated extortion attempts, following hacks of a studio working for Netflix in 2017 and many other private businesses in the months following. In this case, a selection of free documents were released as a teaser, shortly after a New Year’s Eve announcement about the attacks.
On Pastebin, The Dark Overlord said they had acquired 18,000 documents, many of which related to the 9/11 events. And on Wednesday, the hacker began posting links on Twitter and Pastebin in which they said they’d be crowdfunding the release. Once they’d reached certain financial goals—ranging from $250 in Bitcoin, rising up to $2 million—more and more files would be released. (Twitter subsequently suspended the account.) Thus far, the freely-leaked documents appear innocuous, but the hacker promised juicier information was coming.
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Prior to its account being shut down, the group had contacted WikiLeaks over Twitter, saying Julian Assange’s leaking organization might want to get in touch over the information it had acquired. Over email, the Dark Overlord declined to comment.
But a Hiscox spokesperson said the leak related to the breach of an unnamed U.S. law firm that advised Hiscox, some of its commercial policyholders and other insurers. That incident was reported in April 2018.
“The law firm’s systems are not connected to Hiscox’s IT infrastructure, and Hiscox’s own systems were unaffected by this incident,” the Hiscox spokesperson said. “One of the cases the law firm handled for Hiscox and other insurers related to subrogation litigation arising from the events of 9/11, and we believe that information relating to this was stolen during that breach.”
A spokesperson for the Lloyd’s of London said its systems also hadn’t been breached but that as with Hiscox, the leak was linked to the previous attack. “Lloyd’s will continue to monitor the situation closely, including working with managing agents targeted by the hacker group.”
That chimed with The Dark Overlord’s own statement, which indicated the hacker or their crew was responsible for a previously-reported breach of an American law firm. After that company cooperated with law enforcement, the hacker took the decision to start leaking files, according to the statement.
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Another insurance provider and offshore investment bank, Advantage Life, has also been targeted by The Dark Overlord, but there’s confusion over just when and how the company was breached. An Advantage Life spokesperson confirmed to Forbes it learned of an attack in early 2018 and informed clients and regulators at that time. As noted in the advisory to customers, Advantage Life found one of its websites was copied in an attempt to trick clients out of information. It filed reports with the FBI and was cooperating with the agency on its investigation.
The company said it had received threats made to Advantage Life in which a hacker said they would reveal personal identity and financial information of life insurance policyholders, a spokesperson told Forbes.
But The Dark Overlord told Forbes that they had nothing to do with the copied website. “We have literally nothing to do with that, and we’ve no idea what they’re even talking about. Our hack was from much earlier and resulted in their offices being breached, heisting hundreds of GBs of sensitive data which we’ll allow you to have soon.”
The Advantage Life spokesperson didn’t respond to those specific allegations.
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