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Hackers demand US$4.5 million from Reddit and API changes to be withdrawn

By Kenny Yeo - on 20 Jun 2023, 9:45am

Hackers demand US$4.5 million from Reddit and API changes to be withdrawn

A ransomware group called BlackCat has claimed responsibility for an attack on Reddit earlier this year in February.

The group claims to have 80GB worth of data from Reddit and threatens to release the data if their demands are not met.

Their demands are quite simple: US$4.5 million and for Reddit to roll back its planned API price changes.

According to the group, they have attempted to contact Reddit twice but have yet to receive a response.

They said:

I told them in my first email that I would wait for their IPO to come along. But this seems like the perfect opportunity! 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!

Those following Reddit or heavy Reddit users will likely be familiar with these API changes. 

Early this month, Reddit announced that it would be revising its API charges to the tune of US$12,000 per 50 million requests. This figure would put many third-party Reddit apps out of business.

Christian Selig, the developer of Apollo, a popular Reddit app for iOS, said in a Reddit post earlier this month that his app can make up to 7 billion requests. And based on Reddit's new API pricing, that would mean he would have to pay Reddit a whopping US$1.68 million a month or about US$20 million a year.

What's more damning, perhaps, is that Selig said he pays Imgur, a popular photo-hosting service, just US$166 for the same 50 million API calls. 

According to Selig, even if he only kept subscription users (they pay US$1.49 a month), he would still be in the red because the average Apollo user, he said, makes about 344 requests a day which would translate to a cost of around US$2.50 per month.

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman claims the site was never designed to support third-party apps and that the company would not pull back from its proposed changes. 

Many of Reddit's top subreddits were dark in response and plan to do so indefinitely until Reddit addressees its API pricing changes. And now, to add fuel to the fire, a ransomware group has got involved. 

Source: Bleeping Computer via The Verge

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