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Cybercrime Group BlackSuit Targets Kadokawa in Major Ransomware Attack

Hackers threaten to release 1.5 terabytes of sensitive data, demanding ransom by July 1
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Kadokawa, a leading Japanese publishing giant, has fallen victim to a ransomware attack orchestrated by the notorious hacking group BlackSuit. The cybercriminals have claimed responsibility for the breach and are threatening to release 1.5 terabytes of stolen data unless a ransom is paid by July 1, 2024.

BlackSuit, believed to have rebranded from the Royal ransomware operation with suspected ties to the defunct Conti syndicate, emerged with a statement on June 27 detailing the extent of their infiltration. The group alleges it accessed Kadokawa’s network, encrypting critical systems and compromising subsidiaries such as Dwango and NicoNico.

Kadokawa first reported the cyberattack in early June, citing disruptions across multiple websites and services. While the company has been working to restore normal operations, BlackSuit’s intrusion reportedly involved prolonged data exfiltration before encryption was implemented. The stolen data includes business plans, user data, contracts, and financial records, posing significant risks to the company’s operations and the privacy of its users.

Despite negotiations, BlackSuit claims that Kadokawa’s ransom offer is inadequate given the company’s size. The hackers warned that the leaked information could have far-reaching consequences for Kadokawa’s business and the privacy of many Japanese citizens.

Kadokawa has reassured customers that no credit card information was compromised and emphasized its priorities in restoring accounting functions and normalizing manufacturing and distribution processes by early July. While new publications continue as scheduled, existing publication shipments are down to a third of normal levels. Kadokawa is implementing alternative arrangements, including bolstering human resources, to mitigate the impact.

The company’s web services have been hit hard, with all Niconico family services suspended. Provisional services have been introduced, and other services like Niconico Manga smartphone version and NicoFT have resumed.

As the deadline approaches, the publishing giant faces mounting pressure to resolve the crisis without succumbing to the hackers’ demands.

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