REvil ransomware gang threatens to auction celebrities’ dirty secrets on 1st July

The REvil ransomware gang, that stole personal data and contractual information of global celebrities from the network of law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, is now threatening to auction juicy details associated with Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, and Lebron James.

The massive hack took place in early May when the hacker group used the REvil ransomware to infiltrate the law firm's network and stole up to 756GB of data including contracts, non-disclosure agreements, phone numbers, email addresses, music rights, and personal correspondence of a large number of well-known American celebrities.

Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks counts well-known celebrities across genres like media and entertainment, sport, television, and the corporate world as its clients. The REvil ransomware gang said the data in their possession included classified information belonging to celebrities like Lady Gaga, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige, Ella Mai, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Cam Newton, Bette Midler, Jessica Simpson, Priyanka Chopra, Idina Menzel and Run DMC.

The law firm also represents music stars like AC/DC, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Lionel Richie, Lizzo, Madonna, Maroon 5, Ricky Martin, Rod Stewart, Shania Twain, Sting, Drake, Fiona Apple, U2, the Whitney Houston Estate, and Tony Bennett as well as sports personalities such as Mike Tyson, Sean Avery, Victor Cruz, Henrik Lundqvist, LeBron James, and Cam Newton.

Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks also boasts an enviable list of corporate clients that includes the likes of Facebook, Samsung Electronics, Sony Corp., Spotify, HBO, MTV, Universal Music Group, Vice Media Group, Activision, EMI Music Group, and Discovery. It is not yet known if corporate data belonging to these enterprises are also in the possession of the hacker group.

According to The Register, the hacker group has announced it will auction confidential information associated with celebrities Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, and Lebron James on 1st July with a reserve price of $600,000. The group has claimed the information includes details of “big money and social manipulation, mud lurking behind the scenes and sexual scandals, drugs and treachery,” as well as “bribery by Democratical Party”.

However, the auction will be put on hold if the law firm agrees to pay $42 million in ransom to recover its files. Interestingly, the hacker group also claimed in May that it had obtained controversial information on U.S. President Donald Trump.

“There's an election race going on, and we found a ton of dirty laundry on time. Mr. Trump, if you want to stay president, poke a sharp stick at the guys, otherwise you may forget this ambition forever. And to you voters, we can let you know that after such a publication, you certainly don't want to see him as president. Well, let's leave out the details. The deadline is one week,” the group said.

Page six however, confirmed that the President has never been a Grubman client, either as a private businessman or during his administration. So, the gang’s claim on the president could be an empty threat in an attempt to create more pressure on the law firm.

The FBI is investigating this incident and has advised the law firm not to negotiate with the attackers or pay the ransom as this would violate federal criminal law.

A statement given to Page Six by Grubman, Shire, Meiselas and Sacks read: "We have been informed by the experts and the FBI that negotiating with or paying ransom to terrorists is a violation of federal criminal law. We are grateful to our clients for their overwhelming support and for recognizing that nobody is safe from cyberterrorism today."

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