Petya cyberattackers make public statement, demand $256k for encryption key

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The perpetrators of the worldwide cyberattack attack "Petya" — which infected computer systems in more than 60 countries June 27 — have reportedly issued a new ransom demand targeting all individuals affected by the attack, BBC reports.

The perpetrators reportedly accessed the ransom payments they accumulated during the Petya cyberattack and moved the payments — totaling roughly $10,300 in bitcoin — to external platforms July 4.

The perpetrators proceeded to post a public statement on DeepPaste, a text-sharing service hackers use to discuss their work, according to BBC. The post said the perpetrators will provide a "private key to decrypt any hard disk" hit by the Petya attack in return for 100 bitcoin, or roughly $256,300.

The availability of a potential "key" complicates the idea Petya is a "wiper," which permanently destroys files, rather than a ransomware — a theory put forth by multiple security experts. "As far as we can tell, there's no way to actually decrypt affected PCs even if you paid the new demand," Professor Alan Woodward of the University of Surrey in England told the BBC.

Vice's Motherboard reached out to the perpetrators, who offered to address allegations Petya acts as a wiper by demonstrating a file decryption. The perpetrators reportedly decrypted a test file infected by Petya after two hours, according to Motherboard.

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