Bet9ja (co-founded by Ayo Ojuroye and Kunle Soname who are its CEO and chairman respectively), an online bookmaker company that offers betting on major sporting events operating in Nigeria, was shut down on April 6th following a ransomware attack by a criminal hacking group named the Russian BlackCat Group.
In what seemed like a terrible day for the management of Bet9ja, the cyber criminal gang held the oraganization data hostage in a ransomware attack. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that encrypts files on victims’ computers, rendering them inaccessible until a ransom is paid.
Bet9ja initial statement as posted on all its social media platforms assured users that all funds are safe and the issue will be resolved as soon as possible.
Read more: 7 Tips to Protect Yourself from Mobile Threats
“The entire Bet9ja system has been under attack by the Russian Blackcat group who are famous for several attacks to huge companies in the world. It is a huge hacker attack by this Russian group but our people are working from yesterday without stopping for a minute to restore all the services but it is not easy.
“They are asking for ransom already but we will never accept their conditions. it is important to let you know this so that we are all on the same page. They have hit us hard but of course they cannot kill us. We will stand our ground and come back even much more stronger.
“Please do not be discouraged, we will surely restore things as soon as possible and provide update on the progress.”
Bet9ja statement on criminal cyber attack
The Bet9ja betting platform, just like so many market-leading global organisations, has recently become a victim of a sophisticated criminal cyber-attack, which is restricting our customers from having access to the platform.
We are working tirelessly with our IT Team, independent forensics and cybercrime experts to resolve this.
We take this matter extremely seriously. Our priority is protecting our customers and you have our assurances that your accounts will not be compromised and all your funds are safe.
We apologize for this situation and once back online, we will reward our loyal customers with a truly sensational bonanza of promotions.
More information to follow. Any information not shared by Bet9ja should not be regarded as credible.
We appreciate your patience and understanding at this difficult time.
We will be back stronger, continuing to provide you with the best-in-class betting experience, as soon as is technically possible.
Bet9ja Management Team.
What you should know about the Russian BlackCat Group?
In an article published on Tripwire and written by Graham Cluley ( a computer security expert and writer), BlackCat (also known as ALPHV) is a relatively new ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operation, which has been aggressively recruiting affiliates from other ransomware groups and targeting companies globally.
This hacking group extorts money from targeted organisations by stealing sensitive data and encrypting systems. At first request, the gang threatens to release users information on the organizations database publicly and if demands are not met, takes a step further by threatening to launch a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
The group uses Rust to reduce the chances of the ransomware executable containing bugs that security researchers may be able to exploit, as well as making it fast to find and encrypt files on targeted networks, and able to run on Windows and Linux systems.
According to a report by Bloomberg, In February 2022, the russian blackcat group was allegedly responsible for ransomware attacks that took down a swath of Germany’s fuel-distribution system and hindered payments at some filling stations. The group has become popular with its sucessful cyber attacks since late 2021 by offering high payouts to its affiliates.
Also read: TECNO Security Response Center Partners with HackerOne to Safeguard TECNO Users
Will their demands be met?
It’s not known how much money the Black Cat group has demanded from the management of Bet9ja as ransom but the gaming site insists it will not accept the conditions of the Russian BlackCat group. The official Bet9ja website is still offline as of the time of publishing this article.
Should Bet9ja pay the ransom or fix the security threat to avoid future attacks? Please feel free to leave a comment below.