A ransomware gang which attacked the well-known social news aggregation site Reddit has expanded its demands, asking the company to reverse announced hikes in the prices for using its API.
Alphv members said the initial intrusion took place on 5 February and claimed to have stolen 80Gb of data.
On their web site on the dark web, the group said that it had sought a US$4.5 million (A$6.56 million) from Reddit in exchange for deleting the stolen data.
The Alphv group said it had told Reddit that it had been initially willing to wait for the company’s proposed IPO to settle the data theft issue. It claimed to have contacted Reddit twice: on 13 April and again on 16 June.
“We are very confident that Reddit will not pay any money for their data. But I am very happy to know that the public will be able to read about all the statistics they track about their users and all the interesting confidential data we took. Did you know they also silently censor users? Along with artifacts from their GitHub!” the group wrote.
Reddit has been mired in a stoush with its users for a while after it said it would be imposing costs for accessing its data. About 9000 subreddits have gone dark since the protest began.
Third-party developers rely on the API to build their own apps which can provide access to features not found in the official Reddit app, especially in the case of content moderation and accessibility aids.
The Alphv gang said: “As we also stated, if we had to make this [the stolen data] public, then we now demand that they also withdraw their API pricing changes along with our money or we will leak it.”
Reddit chief executive Steve Huffman told The Associated Press he would not back down on the API changes.
“Protest and dissent is important,” he said. “The problem with this one is it’s not going to change anything because we made a business decision that we’re not negotiating on.”
According to the AP, “Reddit says supporting third-party developers is too expensive and the new policy is necessary [for it] to become a self-sustaining business.”
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