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Russian hacker group Evil Corp targets US workers at home

A Russian hacking group is launching ransomware attacks against a number of US companies, targeting employees who are working from home due to Covid-19.

Evil Corp hackers have tried to access at least 31 organizations’ networks in order to cripple systems and demand millions of dollars in ransom.

The group’s two alleged leaders were indicted by the US Justice Department in December 2019. There are concerns that US voting systems could also be targeted.

Last year, US authorities filed charges against Evil Corp’s alleged leaders Maksim Yakubets and Igor Turashev, accusing them of using malware to steal millions of dollars from groups including schools and religious organizations in over 40 countries.

Officials announced a $5m reward for information leading to their arrest, which they said was the largest amount ever offered for a cyber-criminal. Both men are still at large.

The threat comes as the majority of Americans have been working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic – 62% according to a Gallup poll.

The US presidential election is also just months away, and federal and local officials have been working to put measures in place to protect voter records as well as manage safe voting practices amid the pandemic.

Symantec Corporation, a firm that monitors corporate and government networks released a notice warning of the threat it identified on Thursday night.

The attacks used what Symantec described as a relatively new type of ransomware called WastedLocker, which has been attributed to Evil Corp. Ransomware are computer viruses that threaten to delete files unless the ransom is paid. The WastedLocker ransomware virus demands ransoms of $500,000 to $1m to unlock computer files it seizes.

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