This story is escalating. Earlier this week, we reported that one of the best known law firms in the music business – Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks (GSMS) – had been hit by a cyberattack by a group of hackers using so-called ransomware.
That group, REvil, threatened to release personal details of GSMS clients including Elton John, Lady Gaga, Barbra Streisand, Lizzo and Madonna, unless GSMS paid them $21m via bitcoin.
As proof of their successful data hack, REvil posted a screenshot of what appears to be a contract for Madonna on the dark web. They reportedly subsequently also published 2.4 gigs of data associated with Lady Gaga, including confidential contracts, to a file sharing service this week.
Now, according to Page Six, the hackers claim that within the 756 gigabytes of data they stole from GSMS, they have discovered confidential information about the President of the United States.
In making the claim, once again on the dark web, REvil have upped the GSMS ransom to $42m, with one week to pay up.
The group reportedly posted a new message to the dark web yesterday (Thursday, May 14), writing: “The ransom is now [doubled to] $42,000,000 … The next person we’ll be publishing is Donald Trump. There’s an election going on, and we found a ton of dirty laundry on time.”
The hackers added: “Mr. Trump, if you want to stay president, poke a sharp stick at [GSMS], otherwise you may forget this ambition forever. And to you voters, we can let you know that after such a publication, you certainly don’t want to see him as president … The deadline is one week.
“Grubman, we will destroy your company down to the ground if we don’t see the money.”
“We can confirm that we’ve been victimized by a cyberattack,” said GSMS in a statement issued this week.
“We have notified our clients and our staff. [We] have hired the world’s experts who specialize in this area, and we are working around the clock to address these matters.”
Allen Grubman, who originally founded GSMS in the 1970s, refuses to negotiate, reports Page Six, which cites a source as saying “his view is, if he paid, the hackers might release the documents anyway… plus the FBI has stated this hack is considered an act of international terrorism, and we don’t negotiate with terrorists.”
Artists (and GSMS clients) whose data is included in the breach also include Nicki Minaj, Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige, Ella Mai, Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey, while companies that have been represented by GSMS in the past include Universal Music Group, Sony/ATV, Sony Corp, Facebook, Spotify and iHeartMedia.Music Business Worldwide