The ransomware hackers who stole gigabytes of data from a prominent New York entertainment law firm posted a batch of emails Saturday on the dark web, which they previously hyped as containing incriminating information on President Donald Trump.
But there’s nothing damning in the collection of 169 emails, which the hackers illegally obtained from Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks’ systems.
Indeed, only a few of the emails published online Saturday actually refer to Donald Trump in any meaningful context. Those include discussions of satirical references to him in certain TV shows and ads, as well as his 2015 interview with Barbara Walters on ABC News’ “20/20.”
Meanwhile, among the hacked emails were newsletters with links to articles about the current White House occupant. In several cases, the emails included “trump” in the verb sense of “to override,” having nothing to do with Donald Trump. A few others were correspondence with a company whose offices were in Trump Tower in New York. Another email chain referenced a client who was staying at Trump International Hotel & Tower New York.
In short, it’s nothing resembling the “ton of dirty laundry” the cyberattackers claimed they possessed on Donald Trump.
The criminals’ claims to have revealing info on Trump in connection with their hack of Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks were puzzling, given that the law firm has never represented Donald Trump or the Trump Organization.
The hackers claimed the emails they released Saturday contain “the most harmless information” about Trump — apparently trying to imply they are holding back more compelling material. But considering that what they published contained nothing remotely interesting, it seems likely that the cybercriminals are vastly exaggerating the value of the data they’ve stolen.
Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks refused to pay the cyberthieves’ initial $21 million ransom, after which the hackers doubled their demand to $42 million. Now that it’s clear the law firm, which has brought in the FBI to conduct a criminal investigation, will not even negotiate with the criminal ring, the hackers are claiming they will auction off the client data they stole on the dark web.
The attack on the Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks network, which appears to have occurred on or around May 7, allegedly resulted in the theft of documents on multiple music and entertainment figures. The hackers have claimed those include Lady Gaga, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige, Ella Mai, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Cam Newton, Bette Midler, Jessica Simpson, Priyanka Chopra, Idina Menzel and Run DMC.