Tech by VICE

Hackers Are Trying to Hold a Los Angeles Investment Bank to Ransom

The hacker or hackers, who call themselves The Dark Overlord, have targeted WestPark Capital, based in Los Angeles.

by Joseph Cox
Sep 26 2016, 8:30pm

One of the apparent internal documents from WestPark Capital. Motherboard has redacted the document contents.

Hackers have stolen apparent internal documents from a Californian investment bank and published them online, likely in an effort to extort money from the victim company.

The hacker or hackers, who call themselves The Dark Overlord, recently tried to extort a series of health care organisations into paying hefty ransoms. This most recent target, however, is WestPark Capital, based in Los Angeles.

"WestPark Capital is a 'full service investment banking and securities brokerage firm' whose CEO, Richard Rappaport, spat in our face after making our signature and quite frankly, handsome, business proposal and so our hand has been forced," The Dark Overlord wrote on Pastebin on Sunday.

Along with their statement, The Dark Overlord provided a link to several stolen files from the investment firm. They include non-disclosure agreements, internal presentations, reports, contracts, and more. In all, just under 20 files have been released. One of the companies that signed an agreement included in the dump confirmed the document's legitimacy to Motherboard.

"We made a handsome proposal to Mr. Rappaport that would involve us withholding this news. However, Mr. Rappaport chose to not cooperate with us in what could have been a very clean and quiet business opportunity for himself," a spokesperson for The Dark Overlord told Motherboard in an online chat.

The Dark Overlord first appeared in June, when they advertised a slew of alleged medical organisation records on the dark web, before following up with 9 million supposed health care insurance details. The general strategy wasn't to actually sell the data, but to intimidate the victim into paying a ransom. In return, the hackers wouldn't release the company's records.

Although the spokesperson wouldn't explicitly say this was the same approach in this case, they did say that, "We are open and available for further communications with Mr. Rappaport if he chooses to mitigate what may be to come."

Rappaport did not respond to multiple emails and a phone message.

Luxury Week is a series about our evolving views of what constitutes luxury. Follow along here.