Dublin-based Tram System Operator Luas Blackmailed for Bitcoin (BTC), Site Down Temporarily

Luas, a Dublin-based tram (transportation) system operator, recently alerted its followers via Twitter regarding what appears to be a hack of the company website and blackmailing attempt by an unknown attacker.

As detailed in Luas’ tweet from January 3rd, 2019, “an ongoing issue” has seemingly resulted in the website being down. Instead of seeing the normal Luas website pages, users who visit the site are presented the following message: 

You are hacked … sometime ago I wrote that you have serious security holes [but] you didn’t reply  … the next time someone talks to you, press the reply button … you must pay 1 bitcoin in 5 days … otherwise I will publish all data and send emails to your users.

Likely Not A Serious Threat

Although this appears to be a non-critical issue and likely an attempt by an amateur hacker to blackmail the Luas company by demanding money be paid in bitcoin (BTC), the pseudonymous cryptocurrency, the tram operator’s twitter message warns users by telling them “not to click” on their website.

According to Luas, there are currently technicians and developers working on the website’s backend to resolve the issue. The affected website is also only a static site, meaning that it simply posts local maps and text-based messages regarding advice on parking and route information for its customers. Lucas’ more sensitive site, which accepts payments, has not been affected by any security-related issues, the company’s notice via Twitter clarified.

Those looking to contact the tram system operator regarding travel updates may call the company office at the listed number above and/or message Luas via Twitter. A representative from Luas told the Irish Times that all of the transportation service provider’s services were operating normally.

Chinese Citizen Sentenced To 13 Years In Prison In BTC Extortion Case

As CryptoGlobe reported in early November 2018, a Chinese citizen had been sentenced to 13 years in prison due to his alleged involvement in a bitcoin-related extortion case. The accused had reportedly extorted around 2,000 bitcoins, an amount valued at over $7.6 million according to CryptoCompare data. As described by local news outlets, the man named Du Bing had blackmailed a Chinese firm as he claimed to have come across some evidence that the company engaged in several illegal transactions.

After receiving the large amount of digital currency, Bing had immediately converted the crypto funds to fiat money. He then proceeded to buy many different luxury items including a new BMW car and an apartment. Presumably, Bing’s purchases alerted authorities regarding potentially fraudulent or illicit activity. He was arrested last year and is serving a lengthy prison sentence.