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Hackers demand Bitcoin ransom after Qnect attack

Australian ticketing start-up Qnect has fallen prey to a cyberattack, with hackers threatening to release users’ personal information online if the company fails to pay a ransom in Bitcoin.

The Sydney-based start-up is used by societies at a number of Australian universities, including the University of Technology Sydney, Curtin University, Monash University and the University of New South Wales, to organise social events.

One former client, Sydney University Law Society, yesterday shared a screenshot of a text message sent to Qnect customers threatening to publish “your data”, including email addresses and card details, if a ransom is not paid:


However, Qnect CEO Daniel Liang has dismissed the threat as baseless, saying in a statement that ‘RavenCrew’ “does not hold financial information or physical addresses – at maximum, this person had your email, phone number to SMS on and your name. With this information, the person won’t be able to do anything harmful, other than spam you – so just ignore, and he will lose his fun. Let’s make it boring for them.”

Confirming the company has reported the breach to the Australian Federal Police, Liang (pictured) adds that it appears the attacker “has not hacked our systems, but rather used a phishing scam” – or posing as someone trustworthy, such as an employee of Qnect – “to get remote access of a key employee’s computer, and then going through systems thereafter.”

He encourages Qnect customers to simply “ignore this guy, and just be wary not to open links from SMSes or email you don’t know who they are from”.

The Qnect hack follows similar incidents involving, in which a hacker stole website usernames and other personal information, and United Talent Agency, which was last month hit by a malware incident widely reported as a cyberattack.


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