Criminal suspects using ChatGPT to blackmail arrested in E China's Hangzhou
Published: Dec 29, 2023 01:41 AM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

A criminal gang utilizing ChatGPT for program optimization to conduct ransomware attacks for extortion was recently arrested by local police in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, media reported on Thursday.

On November 20, the police in Shangcheng district in Hangzhou received a report from a company stating that their servers had been attacked by ransomware, resulting in the company's systems being unable to operate normally. According to media reports, the perpetrators demanded 20,000 USDT ($20,000), also known as the Tether, as ransom.

The local police carried out detailed inspection of the affected servers, extracted the Trojan program for analysis, and conducted multidimensional assessments of the virtual currency addresses used by the suspects for extortion. As a result, they successfully identified two suspects.

On November 30, the local police apprehended two suspects in Hohhot, North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. With the arrest of another two co-criminal suspects in Beijing the next day, all four suspects of the gang were arrested.

The four suspects possess qualifications related to network security and have previous experience working for large-scale internet technology companies. They admitted to their involvement in writing the ransomware version, optimizing programs using ChatGPT, conducting vulnerability scans, infiltrating to obtain permissions, implanting the ransomware, and carrying out extortion.

Ransomware attacks are one of the hacking methods closely related to the daily production and life of internet users and enterprises. Hackers spread ransomware through email, instant messaging tools, and other means to force users to pay ransom as a form of extortion, by means of using encrypting user files, disrupting computer functions, disclosing or deleting sensitive user data as a threat.

Global Times