Laptop Maker ‘Compal’ Is Dealing With “DoppelPaymer” Ransomware Trouble

  • The world’s second-largest laptop manufacturer is in the process of cleaning its systems from ransomware.
  • The “DoppelPaymer” actors are now demanding a ransom payment of 1,100 Bitcoin.
  • Such attacks have the power to disrupt global markets and magnify the problems during harsh times.

‘Compal Electronics,’ the Taiwan-based laptop maker who produces products for Apple Inc., Acer, Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard, and Fujitsu, is dealing with a catastrophic “DoppelPaymer” ransomware infection right now. The problematic situation became apparent on Sunday when the company’s systems went down suddenly and without an official explanation. Upstream and downstream suppliers were informed of the interruption yesterday but weren’t given many details about the specifics.

Today, Compal has publicly admitted the security incident and informed the world that hackers are blackmailing them. The production has returned to normalcy, but some projects will experience a short-term delay. The ransom was set to 1,000 Bitcoins, which is about $16,75 million at the moment. This humongous figure perfectly reflects the size of Compal, a company that has a yearly revenue of $25 billion, employs 64,000 people, and is the second-largest notebook manufacturer in the world, after only ‘Quanta.’

The company has not mentioned anything about stolen files and exfiltration of sensitive supplier data, but we know that DoppelPaymer is engaging in this form of extortion. Thus, we can assume that this part of the attack hasn’t been thwarted, and the blackmail process is backed by data stolen by the malicious actors. We are to confirm this in two weeks, which is the typical time of controlled data leaks that are meant to punish those who don’t pay the ransom.

Compal has stated that the network is affected in a proportion of about 25%, so the infection was stopped at some point. This is an indication that Compal’s IT team responded, even on a Sunday, so the impact of the attack was somewhat mitigated. The firm’s employees were told to back up their files manually when they returned to work on Monday.

Laptop sales in 2020 were strong, as the global COVID-19 outbreak has pushed a huge number of people to work from home, and many of them needed a device to help with that. Chromebook sales, for example, grew by 90% in Q3 2020 compared to Q3 2019, as the world returned to a wave of national lockdowns.

Experts believe that the laptop market will grow by $7.52 billion in the next four years. That said, a disruption to Compal’s operations, even a minor one, could have significant consequences for the firm.



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