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Hackers demand $5M in bitcoin from Mexico’s national oil company Pemex

Yogita Khatri

Hackers have demanded 565 bitcoins, currently worth about $5 million, from Mexico’s national oil company Pemex in a cyberattack.

The hack, detected on Sunday by Pemex, has forced the company to shut down its computers across Mexico, Reuters reported Wednesday. A ransom note to Pemex, seen by the news agency, pointed to a darknet website affiliated with “DoppelPaymer,” a type of ransomware.

DoppelPaymer was also behind recent attacks on Chile’s Agriculture Ministry and the town of Edcouch in Texas, according to cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike.

Pemex is reportedly already under heavy debts due to declining oil production. The company will not pay the ransom to hackers, said Rocio Nahle, Mexico’s energy minister and chair of the Pemex board.

Nahle added that the attack hit Pemex’s administrative headquarters in Mexico City and that its “plants and wells” continue to operate.

Ransomware attacks can cost companies dearly. In March, Norwegian aluminum producing giant Norsk Hydro was hit by an attack, which forced parts of the company to operate via pen and paper. Norsk Hydro also refused to pay the ransom, but it cost the company up to $71 million in cleanup costs, per the Reuters report.