Reddit recently fell victim to a phishing attack and the group responsible has now publicised their ransom demands.
The attack resulted in the exposure of internal documents, dashboards, code, and contracts.
While the data has not been made public so far, the situation could change as ransomware gang BlackCat – also known as ALPHV – has claimed responsibility for the hack and threatened to release the data.
Unsurprisingly, BlackCat is demanding a ransom of $4.5 million. However, the collective is also demanding that Reddit reverse its controversial API changes that have sparked widespread protests.
The phishing attack
BlackCat employed a sophisticated phishing attack, using “plausible-sounding prompts” to trick Reddit employees into visiting a website that closely resembled the platform’s intranet gateway.
One employee unknowingly fell for the scheme, allowing the hackers to steal their login credentials and second-factor tokens. However, Reddit assured its users that their personal information has not been compromised.
Reddit API price hikes and protests
Reddit is currently facing a major protest from users against API price hikes that have prompted popular third-party apps such as Narwhal and Apollo to announce their shutdowns.
Apollo’s developer, Christian Selig, calculated Reddit’s changes would cost him over $20 million per year.
Developers are concerned that the loss of third-party apps will result in more censorship and reduced opportunities for growing ad revenue.
The concerns led to a substantial revolt:
In response to the protests, Reddit CEO Steve Hoffman defended the API price hikes, suggesting that some users are upset because they can no longer access certain services for free.
Hoffman also hinted at making it easier to remove moderators who make decisions that are not popular among the user base.
Despite the ongoing blackouts and advertiser concerns, Reddit has not indicated any intention to reverse its decision regarding the API price increases. Likewise, many subreddits have committed to continuing their protests.
BlackCat, for its part, says it remains sceptical that Reddit will pay the ransom demand and expects the stolen data to be made public.
As Reddit grapples with the aftermath of a targeted phishing attack and ongoing site-wide protests, the emergence of BlackCat’s ransom demand adds further uncertainty to the situation. The potential leak of sensitive internal information could have serious consequences for the already troubled platform.
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