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Exclusive: Akira ransomware gang claims scalp of Sydney law firm

Hackers allege they have client documents and court details belonging to Brett Slater Solicitors.

user icon David Hollingworth
Thu, 30 May 2024
Exclusive: Akira ransomware gang claims scalp of Sydney law firm
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The Akira ransomware gang has claimed it has successfully hacked a Sydney law firm that specialises in immigration matters and is threatening to publish a raft of sensitive information online.

The gang posted limited details of the hack on its dark web leak site on 28 May alongside two other international victims.

“At Brett Slater Solicitors they specialise in taking on the more difficult and challenging cases,” Akira said in its leak site post.


“This one seem [sic] to be the most difficult for them as we are going to upload numerous personal documents of their clients from different countries. Besides that, there are a lot of court and hearings documents and similar data.”

As a rule, Akira does not post proof of its hacks but has published the data of many of its victims in the past, and there is little doubt it will do the same again. The gang has also not posted details of any ransom deadline.

“Well, you are here. It means that you’re suffering from cyber incident right now. Think of our actions as an unscheduled forced audit of your network for vulnerabilities. Keep in mind that there is a fair price to make it all go away,” the gang said to all visitors to its retro black and green leak site.

“Do not rush to assess what is happening – we did it to you. The best thing you can do is to follow our instructions to get back to your daily routine, by cooperating with us you will minimise the damage that might be done.”

According to Brett Slater Solicitors’ website – Brett Slater appears to be linked to Harbourside Legal Services, which operates out of the same North Sydney address – the firm offers a range of immigration-related services, including assisting in acquiring visas, citizenship applications, and any appeals if a visa has not been granted.

Speaking to the Cyber Daily’s sister brand, Lawyers Weekly, Abraham Ishkhanian, principal of Harbourside Legal, said the “majority of our data is very safe” and protected by LEAP’s software, and only a very limited amount of data in the company’s OneDrive was accessed. The firm’s login server has been replaced, and the PC that had been accessed has been removed from the network.

“Our IT team has looked at our whole systems and have increased protections,” Ishkhanian said.

“We had three levels of protection before, now we have five.

“They are still trying to identify how exactly they got into the system, they haven’t been able to until now, but they are looking into it.”

The firm is assisting law enforcement with ongoing investigations.

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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