Ransomware group demands $50M for stolen Apple schematics

Apple event with Tim Cook
(Image credit: Apple)

A ransomware group called REvil has threatened to publish "large quantities of confidential drawings and gigabytes of personal data" stolen from a Taiwanese laptop manufacturer, including designs for several Apple laptops. According to a report at The Record, REvil has asked for $50 million as ransom for the stolen files.

REvil posted screenshots of Apple's MacBooks on a dark web portal on Wednesday, along with a demand for Apple to pay for the return of the confidential files. According to the post, REvil got the materials from Quanta Computer, a large manufacturer of laptops for Apple and other tech companies, including Lenovo and HP. 

"Quanta has made it clear to us that it does not care about the data of its customers and employees, thereby allowing the publication and sale of all data we have… We recommend that Apple buy back the available data by May 1,” the group said. The post threatens to publish more of Apple's files daily until the ransom is paid.

Quanta posted a vague statement about the incident on its website, stating its security team "has worked with external IT experts in response to cyber attacks on a small number of Quanta servers" and that it's in contact with the appropriate authorities. It claims "no material impact" on its business operation.

REvil is a Russian hacking group also known as Sodinokibi. It's pulled a string of ransomware attacks in the last two years, targeting celebrities like Lady Gaga as well as other large corporations including Acer and pharmaceutical company Pierre Fabre. In an October 2020 interview, the group claimed to be making more than $100 million per year from its ransomware attacks. That amount is, obviously, impossible to confirm.

The group timed its threat letter on Wednesday to Apple's reveal event for its new iMac and iPad tablets and included schematics of that iMac design. It seems plausible that REvil's stolen files include schematics for multiple upcoming unreleased products—those who have looked at the documents leaked so far found evidence of an upcoming MacBook Pro design with more USB ports.

Apple told The Record that it is looking into the incident, but has so far made no statement on how it plans to deal with the ransom.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).