SAS faces new $3m ransom demand to halt ongoing attack

Anonymous Sudan, the hacktivist gang targeting SAS Airlines in a five-day-long cyber spree, has now upped their latest ransom demand from $175,000 to a whopping $3 million.

The hacker group, thought to have Russian connections, announced the new multi-million dollar ransom amount on their encrypted Telegram channel Tuesday.

This latest demand is a far cry from the gang’s original ask of just $3500 when its members began targeting the airlines last week in a series of DDoS attacks.

The distributed denial-of-service attacks, which overload a server with too many requests, have been relentlessly knocking the SAS website and mobile app on and offline since May 24th.

Anonymous Sudan, known for targeting Sweden and SAS in a Valentine's Day attack this past February, said they decided to re-target the airlines last week simply because “we were bored.”

Once the initial 22-hour attack ended, the criminals decided to up its ransom demand from a mere $3500 to $175,000, threatening to continue targeting the airline unless it paid up.

In this latest blackmail increase, Anonymous Sudan boasted that it was trying to teach the Scandinavian flagship carrier a lesson in customer service.

“We are here to teach you a lesson of caring about your customers, we will continue attacking you and increase the intensity more, as we said before this doesn't make a difference for us, we simply attack and you get harmed,” the gang posted on Telegram.

“We have increased the ransom to 3 million US dollars. Expect this to keep increasing more and more,” the group threatened.

“We will keep punishing you and your company non-stop as we have been doing for the past 120 hours, continue acting lost, it will end bad for you and we won't be harmed,“ it said.

Anonymous Sudan SAS 3M ransom
Anonymous Sudan Telegram Channel

Almost immediately following the attacks, issues with SAS online services gained rapid attention from frustrated customers trying to log into their accounts, check their flight status, handle baggage claims, and obtain boarding passes.

So far, SAS Airlines has not acknowledged any specific cause of the online disruptions, preferring to quietly apologize for technical difficulties.

At one point, the airline even suggested on Twitter that customers could still log in to the Danish version of the SAS website, upon which Anonymous Sudan then proceeded to take that website offline as well.

Many SAS customers took to social media over the past five days to express their dissatisfaction.

“Is it NOT ok .. and it has been down for over 5 days. A bit of honesty is required here ... page was taken down by hackers, wasn't it? When will it be back up, and is the data given to the airline secure?” tweeted one customer.

Another frustrated customer, a mother of a 3-month-old infant, tweeted to the airline, “You guys have the worst customer service ever….no one seems to know what’s going on with our items or help us out. It’s been 4 days.”

Cybernews has been able to confirm the airline’s website and app have been down intermittently since last week, although at the time of this article, the SAS website appeared to be up and running.

Again, the group has requested the airlines negotiate with their Anonymous Sudan bot.

The Sudan-based hacktivist group first came on the scene this January.

Usually seen targeting its victims for mostly religious reasons, the group has gone after SAS airlines in the past as retaliation for a protester burning a Quran in Stockholm.

The group has been recently associated with two other fellow Russian-affiliated hacker groups, KillNet and UserSec, in a long-term campaign against NATO.

In the midst of its attack on SAS, Anonymous Sudan went ‘off book’ this past weekend and reportedly took down the popular Tinder dating app in the UK.

Randomly, the group also promised to go after Elon Musk in the near future and make him “open starlink in Sudan by force, not by choice.”

Musk Anonymous Sudan threat
Anonymous Sudan Telegram Channel

SAS Airlines typically hosts more than 800 scheduled flights per day to over 130 destinations worldwide.

Cybernews will continue to follow the story.

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