Banks are always a valuable target for internet criminals. Not just because they have rather weak security systems, but also due to the vast information they collect. One Chinese-owned bank in Liechtenstein is dealing with a rather unusual blackmailing attempt, as criminals demand them to pay 10% of all bank account balances in Bitcoin. Failure to do so would see customer details exposed to the public.
Not A Good Time For Valartis Bank Liechtenstein
News about the Valartis Bank Liechtenstein extortion broke this morning on Reuters. The vast majority of details are very difficult to come by, as the institution refuses to respond to media inquiries for the time being. We do know the bank has been breached by unknown assailants, who managed to obtain a ton of sensitive information regarding bank employees and customers.
What is rather intriguing is how this Chinese-owned Liechtenstein bank is servicing a lot of politicians, actors, and high net worth individuals, most of whom reside in Germany. While this does not mean people are moving their funds to a foreign bank so they can evade taxes, it is rather interesting to note. Moreover, the bank seems to be very secretive about its customer details, as they want to preserve anonymity above anything else.
For the time being, it remains unclear how many users may be affected by this breach. It appears no money has been taken from bank accounts, though, which should put some people’s mind at ease. But that does not mean the hackers are not doing this for financial gain, as they have a vastly different plan in mind.
In fact, they demand the Valartis Bank Liechtenstein takes 10% of all account balances and convert that into Bitcoin. Once done so, they should send the funds over to the criminal’s Bitcoin address. Considering the clientele of this bank, 10% of account balances could quickly add up to several millions of euros. If the bank were to follow that guideline – which they probably will not – the Bitcoin price will see a massive spike over the coming days.
This is a rather intriguing development, even though it puts Bitcoin in a negative spotlight once again. Banks are struggling with IT security; the much is certain. Having customer and bank employee details leak to the public is never good PR, but neither is paying demands imposed by criminals. A tough call to make for the Valartis Bank Liechtenstein, and it will be interesting to see how they decide to proceed.
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