Russian gang hacks high society jewelers Graff, begins leaking client details

The London-based high society jewelers Graff have been hit by a hack allegedly carried out by a notorious Russian gang who have begun releasing client details in bid to force Graff to pay a multi-million dollar ransom, the UK’s Mail on Sunday reported.

The gang, known as Conti, has released some 69,000 files with details on some 11,000 clients, over the last week on the dark web, including details on former US president Donald Trump, Oprah, soccer star David Beckham and several Arab royals.

The report said the documents include client lists, invoices, receipts and credit details, noting that it could prove to be embarrassing for some “who may, for example, have bought gifts for secret lovers or taken jewelry as bribes.”

Several Hollywood stars were on the list, including Tom Hanks, Samuel L Jackson, and Alec Baldwin, who has been in the news lately for a fatal accidental shooting on a movie set last week.

Details were also released about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Bahraini Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

Graff, which was founded by UK Jewish jeweler and businessman Laurence Graff, has become one of the most famous international jewelers, specializing in selling to buyers from the Middle East.

Founder and Chairman of Graff Diamonds Laurence Graff, right, and CEO Francois Graff, left, pose with a model who is wearing a 100 carats diamond named “The Flame” before attending the IPO roadshow in Hong Kong Monday, May 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

The company said in a statement that it had advised all its clients who were affected by the hack.

“Regrettably we, in common with a number of other businesses, have recently been the target of a sophisticated –- though limited –- cyber attack by professional and determined criminals,” the company said.

“We were alerted to their intrusive activity by our security systems, allowing us to react swiftly and shut down our network. We notified, and have been working with, the relevant law enforcement agencies and the ICO,” it said.

Recent years have seen a sharp rise in hacking and ransomware attacks, with Russia often blamed.

The issue has become a source of diplomatic tension between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin over whether Russia has become a safe haven for cybercriminal gangs.

US officials have said the most potent ransomware gangs are based in Russia and allied states and operate with Kremlin tolerance and sometimes collude with Russian security services.

However, an Iran-linked group is behind the hack on an Israeli internet hosting company last week and subsequent leak of personal data, including users of an LGBT site. On Sunday the group demanded a ransom.

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