Akira claims Studio Libeskind breach

The ransomware gang Akira has claimed an attack against Studio Libeskind, a New York-based architecture firm behind the World Trade Center master plan.

Akira said it was in possession of 18GB worth of files belonging to Studio Libeskind that it warned it would share with “everyone in the world.”

According to the gang, the dataset includes “a lot of joint project information,” as well as accounting files, passports, contracts, and agreements among other documents. Cybernews has reached out to Studio Libeskind for comment.

Studio Libeskind is led by Daniel Libeskind, one of America’s most prominent architects. Aside from designing the master plan for the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, Libeskind is also known for projects like the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

Akira announced the breach on its data leak site on April 30th, where it listed Studio Libeskind among its upcoming data releases. No data allegedly belonging to the studio was posted for download at the time of the publishing.

Screenshot by Cybernews

What is Akira?

The Akira ransomware gang was first spotted only in March last year, but has since grown into one of the most productive cybercrime rings globally, prompting the world’s leading law enforcement agencies to issue a cybersecurity advisory against the group.

According to the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) among others, Akira affected more than 250 organizations as of January 1st of this year, and claimed about $42 million in ransomware.

The Japanese automaker Nissan was among Akira’s largest victims last year, with about 100,000 people impacted by the December 2023 breach. Stanford University and Nassau Bay, a city in Texas, were among other victims it claimed.

Earlier this year, the British cosmetics retailer Lush confirmed it was dealing with a “cybersecurity incident” as Akira claimed a cyberattack against the company.

The group takes its name from a Japanese cyberpunk manga and is known for multi-extortion tactics. It is consistent in demanding ransom payments ranging from $200,000 to $4 million from its victims. If these demands are not met, the group publishes the compromised data online.

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