The last thing you need when you’re a manufacturer trying desperately to deliver orders for Apple is to be hit with a ransomware attack. According to a new report, that’s exactly what happened to Compal, maker of MacBooks, over the weekend — when it was reportedly hit with a massive $17 million extortion attempt.
The firm says that it was simply an “abnormality” in its system, but Taiwanese media claims that it was a cyberattack. This has seemingly been backed up by the website BleepingComputer, which obtained the ransomware note.
A ransomware attack is a type of cyberattack that involves extorting money from a victim. This is often done by illicitly accessing the target’s computer system in some manner, and then encrypting their files. The victim is then asked to pay money to decrypt their files. If they do not pay up, the files are either made permanently inaccessible or, in some cases, leaked or sold to rivals.
Ransomware attack on MacBook maker
According to BleepingComputer, MacBook manufacturer Compal was “asked” to pay 1,100 Bitcoins to the ransomware attackers. This was to be paid via a linked payment website. It’s not clear whether Compal agreed to pay the ransom. The news report notes that the company managed to “urgently [repair] most of [its system] and is expected to return to normal today.” That suggests it did not pay up.
There’s no good time to be hit with a cyberattack. But this is a particularly bad one. Apple is hours away from unveiling its first Apple Silicon MacBooks. Its manufacturers are supposedly scaling up production of the next-gen laptops powered by Apple’s custom chips. To be clear, the report doesn’t mention that Apple’s information on Compal’s systems was compromised. However, given how much work Compal does for Apple, it’s worth considering the possibility that it was.