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Apurva Venkat
Special Correspondent

DarkBit puts data from Israel’s Technion university on sale

Mar 29, 20232 mins

DarkBit had previously demanded 80 bitcoins as ransom, and said it would sell the data within five days if the ransom went unpaid.

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DarkBit, the group that claimed responsibility for a ransomware attack on Israel’s Technion university, is making good on its threat to sell the university’s data if the ransom went unpaid.

“The price of total bulk is 104 BTC (bitcoin) if anyone buys all of it at once,” said a message on DarkBit’s Telegram channel. It also offered data of individual faculties and departments at a prices ranging from 1 bitcoin (about $28,500) for civil and environmental engineering data to 40 bitcoins for data from the computer science department. 

The group added that it also had other Technion data available. “There are some other more wondering subdomains ready for sale if they don’t stop putting pressure on our colleagues,” the group said. 

University suffered a ransomware attack in February

The ransomware attack hit Technion on February 12, forcing the university to block all communication networks. 

DarkBit said the university was hacked to make Israel pay for “Occupation, war crimes against humanity, killing the people (not only Palestinians’ bodies, but also Israelis’ souls) and destroying the future and all dreams we had.”

But its revendications weren’t only political. “They should pay for firing high-skilled experts,” it went on. 

Israeli technology companies have laid off about 8,000 employees in 2022, and at least 500 tech workers since the start of 2023, according to Globes.  

DarkBit originally demanded 80 bitcoins as ransom from the university. The group had also said that the amount would go up by 30% if the ransom was not received within 48 hours, and threatened to put the data on sale within 5 days. In the end, it waited over a month.

At that time, the group shared a messenger ID for the Tox secure messaging app, through which individuals could contact them to recover their personal files. 

Established in 1912, Haifa-based Technion—otherwise known as the Israel Institute of Technology—has become a global pioneer in fields such as biotechnology, stem cell research, space, computer science, nanotechnology, and energy. Four Technion professors have won Nobel Prizes. The university has also contributed to the growth of Israel’s high-tech industry and innovation, including the country’s technical cluster in Silicon Wadi.

Apurva Venkat
Special Correspondent

Apurva Venkat is principal correspondent for the India editions of CIO, CSO, and Computerworld. She has previously worked at ISMG, IDG India, Bangalore Mirror, and Business Standard, where she reported on developments in technology, businesses, startups, fintech, e-commerce, cybersecurity, civic news, and education.

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