back to article Hackers crack Liechtenstein banks, demand ransoms

Hackers have days ago breached a Liechtenstein bank and are allegedly blackmailing customers by threatening to release their account data if ransoms are not paid. Attackers obtained account data from Chinese owned Valartis Bank Liechtenstein siphoning information on clients including politicians, actors, and wealthy …

  1. Ole Juul

    Who's responsible?

    One might think the bank is supposed to insure against this sort of thing. Them being into it for the money (like the hackers), I wouldn't be surprised if they try to wiggle out of it though.

    1. Potemkine Silver badge

      Re: Who's responsible?

      Maybe the ones who put their money in Lichtenstein to evade taxes are partly responsible too... After all, if they paid their fair share of taxes like the average citizens do, they wouldn't be subject to this blackmail, would they?

      1. Apprentice of Tokenism

        Re: Who's responsible?

        "Maybe the ones who put their money in Lichtenstein..."

        It is Liechtenstein.

        1. Potemkine Silver badge

          Re: Who's responsible?

          It is Liechtenstein.

          Thank you Grammar Nazi! ;-D

          I should have guessed that "(Mehr) Licht" is something Liechtenstein doesn't aspire to

    2. fajensen

      Re: Who's responsible?

      Read the EULA. The bank is responsible for Nothing.

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: Who's responsible?

        "Read the EULA. The bank is responsible for Nothing."

        No, the bank is responsible but under the EULA is liable for nothing.

  2. Paddy Fagan

    There are other reasons to hide resources

    If the details are published of even some of the account holders, I suspect the population of German divorce lawyers will be reading it carefully among others...

  3. frank ly

    A clue!

    "Attackers accused the bank board of not paying them for security services, ..."

    This could lead us to the culprits.

    1. VinceH

      Re: A clue!

      Not necessarily. If it was a legit company that approached the bank and offered these 'security services' then maybe - but it's more likely that the offer of security services was a case of "We were able to get into your systems. We have all this data as a result. Pay us to tell you how we did it, and we'll all live happily ever after, and we promise - no, really, we definitely promise - not to do anything nefarious with the data later."

      Payment would have been by the same method as now, because they'll have wanted not to be found then as well.

  4. Blofeld's Cat


    "... clients including politicians, actors, and wealthy individuals ... demanding up to 10 per cent of account balances paid in Bitcoin for the information to be withheld ..."

    I suspect that some of these "wealthy individuals" might be able to seriously affect the life expectancy career prospects of the hackers for considerably less than that.

    1. Roq D. Kasba

      Re: Hmm...

      I suspect that's why they are after BTC as opposed to Amazon gift cards.

  5. handle8

    Why bother paying the ransom ?

    Those who haven't hidden their tracks by now will soon face the effects of a policy announced at a G20 summit a few years ago, where it was announced that account-details will automatically be shared between the tax offices of signatory countries.

    From 2017, Lichtenstein (and others) will start data-sharing and from 2018 more countries will follow.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: Why bother paying the ransom ?

      Lichtenstein are part of the G20? Wow, I had no idea the world market for false teeth and cuckoo clocks was so high! :P

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why bother paying the ransom ?

        EU adopted the G20 decision and started negotiations with Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino - each with a bank system very helpful to hide money - and they had to abide.

        Anyway, a walk across Vaduz is instructive... not so many cuckoo clocks shops ;-) Guess there could be enough money stowed away to make some G20 countries envy...

        Anyway, one thing is a controlled disclosure which may not bring the past back... another an uncontrolled one, especially with older data which still can be lead to an investigation....

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. You aint sin me, roit

    What is it that those cuddly proponents of mass surveillance and backdoor crypto say? Oh yes...

    "If you haven't done anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about"

    Any Snooper's Charter should have as its first principle making offshore holdings transparent.

    Follow the money.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      "If you haven't done anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about"

      .. which just so happens to be the perfect argument for government transparency and accountability IMHO..

  7. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    Who's responsible?

    "Hackers have days ago breached a Liechtenstein bank". Is the sub-editor on holiday?

    1. Mephistro

      Re: Who's responsible?

      "Is the sub-editor on holiday?"

      Yes, he is. His temporary replacement, Mr. Yoda, is taking care of things now.

  8. Arctic fox

    Why is it that I am having difficulty working up any indignation on this occasion?

    Must have something to do with the nature of the target. I have some difficulty sympathising with banks whose collective name should be TaxEvasions R'Us.

  9. Mephistro

    Same thing here.

    For me, the ideal outcome of this would be:

    - Some of the account holders pay the blackmail and some don't.

    - Some sue the bank for lack of due diligence.

    - The bank is investigated by all the relevant authorities and the account data is available for all tax agencies in the world.

    - The account data is leaked to the public. Everyone involved -bank and customers- is named an shamed, and prosecuted/heavily fined for tax evasion. Politicians involved get the boot.

    - After a time the hackers get caught and... Screw that! The hackers earn several million € and get scot-free and either retire and live in luxury or start their own (honest) business. All in all, they've made something good for society and they should get some reward.

    I'll keep on dreaming. Sigh.

    1. Tom 38

      Re: Same thing here.

      The account data is leaked to the public. Everyone involved -bank and customers- is named an shamed, and prosecuted/heavily fined for tax evasion. Politicians involved get the boot.

      Check out what happened to Hervé Falciani; after he leaked account data from HSBC in Switzerland, the Swiss sentenced him to 10 years in prison

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting comments..

    I'm intrigued to notice that nobody seems to realise that banks also have normal, tax paying customers. People who live there, for instance, or who have a business there. So it's OK to just dump those details too? Anyone who banks in Liechtenstein has no right to privacy?

    So, where do you draw the line? You only bank where you live, even if you live near a border or work a lot abroad? Or is it only specific countries? Just them damn foreigners? Any other prejudice you want to bring along here?

    The people blackmailing are the criminals. Until proven otherwise, the rest are victims, no excuses. Otherwise you pretty much support the same arguments that got RIPA v3 now signed into law, although, given the feeble level of resistance, I guess most people have given up by now - they won in the end. These comments appear to confirm the brainwashing finally took hold.

    Next up: doublespeak.

    1. Mark 85

      Re: Interesting comments..

      I was wondering, until I got to your comment, if anyone else would say something. The hackers are the crims. Everyone else is collateral damage. Eventually they will crack banks that the commentards use. I wonder how they'll feel if they were hit with this?

      I'm more appalled that they were able to get into the bank's systems and extract this information. I'm also thinking they feel blackmail will get them more money then just going in and grabbing the funds from the accounts. What they've done is make themselves a big target since this is now public. Just stealing funds... everyone basically blows off as the bank normally has to cover the losses.

  11. Scroticus Canis

    Still no honour amoung thieves then

    Title says it all - just banking, hacking, tax evading, money laundering and (probably) embezzling varieties in this case.

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