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OP and Danske Bank web strike was bitcoin-based blackmail

The banks were ordered to pay the blackmailers some 24,200 euros worth of bitcoins to stop the cyber attack.

Tietokoneen näppäimistö.
Denial of service cyber attacks were behind the online banking problems over the New Year, says NBI. Image: Yle

The denial of service cyber attacks on the banks OP-Pohjola and Danske Bank were attempted blackmail, according to the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation.

Investigation head Timo Piiroinen says the blackmailers demanded the banks pay huge sums in the virtual currency bitcoin in order for the attacks to stop.

OP was ordered to pay 100 bitcoins, and Danske Bank 10 bitcoins. As one bitcoin was worth about 220 euros at the time of the attacks, OP’s blackmail share would have been worth 22,000 euros and DB’s 2,200 euros.

Piiroinen says that neither bank paid the blackmailers.

Op-Pohjola bore the brunt of the cyber aggression, as their internet back service experienced problems for several days starting on New Year’s Eve. NB/Nordea’s report to the police indicated that they only only experienced a denial of service attack.

The banks have both reported the attacks and the attempted blackmail to the police, which the NBI is investigating. Piiroinen says he is not at liberty to divulge information on the current state of the investigation.

”I am hopeful that we will get to the bottom of this,” he says. ”Even so, nobody has yet been questioned or arrested in connection to these attacks.”

Piiroinen also said he does not want to comment on the rumours surrounding the attacks, according to one of which they were performed by Finnish teenagers. Still one theory places the blackmailers as international cyber criminals.

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