British luxury jewelry maker Graff Diamonds has paid a $7.5 million ransom to Conti hacker group in bitcoin and is seeking a refund from travellers companies.
In the fall, the hacker group Conti, allegedly based in Russia, attacked the British jewelry house, hacking into the database. Among the company’s clients are Russian officials, Hollywood movie stars and other wealthy people. The hackers exposed the royal families of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, apologizing to them for their actions, but threatened the jewelers to release even more customer data.
According to the attackers, their main goal was to disclose the financial information of Graff Diamonds and personal purchases of celebrities. The hackers accused the jewelery house of “developing a neoliberal plutocracy in the US, UK and EU” as people are allowed to make outrageously expensive purchases while residents of these countries suffer economic pressure. In early November 2021, the Conti group agreed to accept half of the requested ransom in bitcoin from Graff Diamonds, which was originally $15 million. It is not known if the hackers cashed out the received BTC.
Graff Diamonds is now suing its travel insurance company, Travelers, seeking compensation for extortion-related losses. A representative of Graff Diamonds explained that the jewelry house was forced to take all possible steps to protect client interests and will agree to pay a ransom in cryptocurrency, having successfully eliminated the threat. However, the insurance company refused to compensate Graff Diamonds.
“We are extremely upset and disappointed that Travelers Companies are trying to avoid settlement of the insurance claim. She left us no choice but to file a recovery case in the High Court,” Graff Diamonds said in a statement.
This week, the police returned to the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands bitcoins given to attackers several years ago for unlocking data.