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Hacker gang says they locked a million devices and want $ 70 million in bitcoin to unlock them

A group of hackers suspected of being behind a major crime frenzy on July 4th has said they have locked more than a million individual devices and want $ 70 million in bitcoin to unlock.

The claim, posted on an online blog, was reportedly made by the core leadership of REvil, a Russia-affiliated cyber crime group known for hacking meat packaging company JBS, according to Reuters.

The hackers first started their crime streak on Friday, hacking Kaseya, a Miami-based software company that helps companies manage software updates.

According to cybersecurity firm ESET, hundreds of companies around the world were said to have been hit by the attack, with around a dozen countries affected.

Targeting individual computers, according to NBC News, the group had originally asked for $ 45,000 to unlock each one.

The Swedish grocery chain Coop is the biggest known victim. The company had to close most of its 800 stores on Saturday as its registers are checked online.

However, those affected also include schools, credit unions, accountants and travel and leisure companies, Ross McKerchar, chief information security officer of Sophos Group Plc, told Reuters.

The full extent and possible impact of the hacking attacks are still unclear.

The White House said on Sunday that it would approach victims in the United States to “provide assistance based on a national risk assessment”.

President Joe Biden said Sunday that he directed “the full resources” of the government to resolve the incident.

Allan Liska of cybersecurity firm Recorded Future told Reuters that he believed the hacking group may have bitten off more than it could chew by choosing to encrypt the data of so many companies at once.

He said he believed the $ 70 million request was an attempt to make the best of the situation.

“With all of your big talk … I think it’s gotten out of hand,” he said.

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