A London ad agency that counts Atlantic Records, Suzuki, and Penguin Random House among its clients has had its files dumped online by a ransomware gang, The Register can reveal.
The7stars, based in London’s West End, filed [PDF] revenues of £379.36m up from £326m, gross billing of £426m and net profit of £2.1m for the year ended 31 March 2020.
In the same accounts filed with UK register Companies House, it boasted of its position as the “largest independently owned media agency in the UK by a significant factor”, making it a juicy target for the Clop ransomware extortionists.
The attack appears to have happened after 15 December, when The7stars’ annual return was prepared for filing with Companies House. While the document talks in length about its healthy financial performance, it mentions nothing about cyber risks or attacks.
Screenshots published on the Clop gang’s Tor website show scans of passports, invoices, what appears to be a photo from a staff party and, ironically, a “data protection agreement.”
Publication of stolen files on a ransomware crew’s website is typically an indicator that a ransom demand has been rebuffed, though more aggressive tactics seen in the last year include pre-emptive leaking of stolen data as an apparent incentive for marks to pay up quickly.
The agency’s client list includes Led Zeppelin’s former label Atlantic Records, Japanese motorbike maker Suzuki, and British train operating companies including Great Western Railway, among others. It is very unlikely that those companies will have been directly affected, though it appears Clop wants to give the impression that it has stolen commercially sensitive documents relating to The7stars’ clients.