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MSI falls victim to Money Message ransomware attack

Gaming PC parts and laptop manufacturer MSI (Micro-Star International) has revealed that it has suffered a ransomware attack.

user icon Daniel Croft
Tue, 11 Apr 2023
MSI falls victim to Money Message ransomware attack
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According to a statement on the Taiwanese company’s website, the cyber attack accessed “part of its information systems”, but affected systems have “resumed normal operations”, and there has been no significant financial impact as a result.

“MSI recently suffered a cyber attack on part of its information systems,” MSI said.

“Upon detecting network anomalies, the information department promptly activated relevant defense mechanisms and carried out recovery measures, and reported the incident to government law enforcement agencies and cyber security units.”

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The attack on MSI was claimed by the Money Message ransomware gang, a new group that has popped up in recent weeks.

It is now threatening to release the data it stole in five days, unless MSI pays its ransomware demands of US$4 million (just over $6 million).

According to a report by BleepingComputer, which has seen chats between MSI and Money Message, the ransomware group is claiming to have stolen 1.5 terabytes of data, including MSI databases and source code.

“Say [to] your manager, that we have MSI source code, including framework to develop bios, also we have private keys able to sign in any custom module of those BIOS and install it on PC with this bios,” said the Money Message representative.

It is currently unknown whether Money Message’s claims are indeed true, or whether MSI will give into the group’s demands.

The computer hardware manufacturer has pledged its commitment to protecting the data of its customers, staff and partners, and it has said that it will make moves to prevent similar instances from occurring in the future.

“MSI is committed to protecting the data security and privacy of consumers, employees, and partners, and will continue to strengthen its cyber security architecture and management to maintain business continuity and network security in the future.”

MSI’s annual revenue sits just above US$6.5 billion

Companies affected by ransomware attacks are being encouraged by governments and cyber security institutions to not pay ransom demands.

The Australian government has taken a strong stance against paying ransom, with Home Affairs and Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil announcing that the nation would lead the International Counter Ransomware Task Force, which works with global agencies.

Similarly, organisations such as No More Ransom are encouraging businesses not to pay attackers by providing them with decryptors and working with both law enforcement and the private sector.

“We’ve got 163 decryptors on there. We won’t ask for your email address. We won’t track you in any way shape or form,” said Raj Samani, founder of No More Ransom and Rapid7 senior vice-president and chief scientist.

“We collaborate and work together to basically tell the whole world don’t pay ransom; here is another choice, and we will give you free decryptors.”

To date, No More Ransom has prevented over a billion dollars in ransomware payments.

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

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