Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 24 November 2020

Zaha Hadid Architects says it will not pay ransom after cyber attack

A group of hackers threatened to dump thousands of files onto the dark web stolen from the firm last week

The Opus building in Dubai designed by the late Zaha Hadid, who founded Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA).  Reem Mohammed/The National
The Opus building in Dubai designed by the late Zaha Hadid, who founded Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA).  Reem Mohammed/The National

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has said it will not pay a ransom following a cyber attack on the firm last week, where a group of hackers threatened to leak its data.

It was revealed on Monday that a group of hackers threatened to leak data from the London-based firm established by the world-famous architect of the same name. ZHA, which first reported the incident to the authorities on April 21, is behind the design of hundreds of high-end buildings all over the world.

The hackers, who call themselves “Light”, stole data from the company’s network and encrypted everything with ransomware. They are now threatening to release the files onto the dark web if the company refuses to pay a undisclosed ransom settlement. ZHA has said the data was backed up.

The hackers provided American website ZDNet with proof that they have the ZHA files in their possession and said that the architecture firm refused to engage with them. ZHA reportedly contacted the police soon as its staff knew of the data breach, but did not comment on additional questions about the hack from the US website.

The files include financial documents, employee details, life insurance details, employee contracts, email inbox dumps, and more.

Ransomware is frequently used by criminal networks to steal data from large companies. The annual cost to companies from such attacks is due to hit $17 billion in this year, up from 11.5 billion in 2019, according to Safety Detectives.

Earlier this month the British National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned that the frequency and severity of cyber attacks were likely to increase amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Baghdad-born architect Zaha Hadid designed buildings including the London Aquatics Centre and Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Bridge.

She died of a heart attack aged 65 in March 2016 but her company continues to design important buildings, including the new Central Bank of Iraq headquarters in Baghdad and the Navi Mumbai Interational Aiport in India.

Updated: April 28, 2020 11:27 PM

Editor's Picks
THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
Sign up to our daily email