Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the Mexican state-owned petroleum company, has been hit with a ransomware attack, and the criminals have made their demands known.

The oil company was hit with a massive ransomware attack that grounded administrative tasks on Sunday. The attack was first detected when its central systems couldn’t access information on several of its computers across the nation.

At the time, a company official told the news outlet that the hackers had employed Ryuk, one of the deadliest ransomware tools, to breach several of the company’s servers across the country.

A new report from Reuters corroborates this fact, adding that the attackers had now contacted the company and asked for $5 million in Bitcoin. The company was hoping that it would be able to resolve the issue within 48 hours, and in that time, it had explored several means to help get its computers up and running once more. But, playing a fast one on cybercriminals could be costly. As Pemex has now found out, the delay meant it missed a special discount, which they reserve for victims who respond early.

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The Ransomware That Broke Through

Several cyber attackers have tried to breach the oil company’s computer network in the past, but none has been successful. A previous attack, which was detected early, could only infect less than 5 percent of the company’s computers. However, on Nov 11, the Pemex central data center suddenly discovered a ransomware attack that began to encode passwords and restrict access to important files.

In an email from management, Pemex told its employees to disconnect computers from the central network and backup critical information. Without access to their computers or the central server, administrative work was grounded. The company’s staff were unable to access several systems on the network, with payments and other management activities being inaccessible.

“The servers crashed. People aren’t working,” said a worker who asked to remain anonymous to Reuters.

Ryuk Dominates the Market

Ryuk remains the most efficient tool in the hands of hackers and ransomware attackers. Apart from being used on small companies, it has also been involved in some high profile cyberattack cases this year.

Earlier this year, cybersecurity company Coveware reported that there had been a staggering 90 percent increase in the number of ransomware payouts in Q1 2019, as BeInCrypto has previously reported. The company’s analysis was based on standard data, which touched on costs incurred in an average attack. These costs were further split into recovery costs (money paid to revert the effects of attacks) and downtime (the cost of lags and missed opportunities suffered by the company).


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