© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man types on a computer keyboard in front of the displayed cyber code in this illustration picture taken on March 1, 2017.REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The hackers who claimed responsibility for the disruptive breach at financial data firm ION say a ransom has been paid, although they declined to say how much it was or offer any evidence that the money had been handed over.
ION Group declined to comment on the statement. Lockbit communicated the claim to Reuters via its online chat account on Friday but said there was “no way” it would offer details. The FBI did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
ION was earlier Friday removed from Lockbit’s extortion website, typically seen as a sign that stricken companies have forked over a ransom.
“When a victim is delisted, it most commonly means either that the victim has agreed to enter negotiations or that it has paid,” said ransomware expert Brett Callow of New Zealand-based cybersecurity company Emsisoft.
Callow said there was an outside chance that there was some other explanation for Lockbit publicly backing off.
“It may mean that ransomware gang got cold feet or decided not to proceed with the extortion for other reasons,” he said.