Hackers behind the cyberattack on the software company Kaseya, the largest ransomware attack on record, are demanding $70 million, CBS News reports.
The attack was reportedly carried out by an affiliate of REvil, a cyber gang that was behind the ransomware attack on meat giant JBS earlier this year.
The cyberattack has affected thousands of companies in at least 17 countries through Kaseya, which helps companies remotely manage their IT infrastructure.
The hackers initially demanded $5 million ransoms but on Sunday offered to release all affected machines in exchange for $70 million.
The FBI said the attack was so large it "may make it so that we are unable to respond to each victim individually."
The Biden administration said it has "directed the full resources of the government to investigate this incident."
Thousands of companies have been affected, particularly in Europe.
In Sweden, the grocery store chain Coop shuttered most of its 800 stores because the hack affected their cash register software. A Swedish pharmacy chain, gas station chain, its state railway system, and its public broadcaster were also affected.
In Germany, IT service companies reported that several thousand customers were affected, including two of the biggest Dutch IT companies.
Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola estimated that the number of victims was in the “low thousands, mostly small businesses like dental practices, architecture firms, plastic surgery centers, libraries, things like that.”
Likely biggest attack yet:
Voccola said that only about 50 to 60 of the company’s 37,000 customers were affected but most of them are managed service providers that use the company’s software to manage numerous customers.
Analysts said the blanket decryption offer from the hackers suggests they may have bitten off more than they can handle.
"This attack is a lot bigger than they expected and it is getting a lot of attention. It is in REvil's interest to end it quickly," Allan Liska, an analyst with the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, told CBS. "This is a nightmare to manage."
It’s unclear how the hackers breached the software.
"The level of sophistication here was extraordinary," Voccola said.