Was Braman Motors target of hackers demanding ransom money? Employee says it’s true

A Local 10 exclusive as an employee says that Braman Motors was the target of a sophisticated cyber attack.

MIAMI, Fla. – Sources have told Local 10 that Braman Motors was the target of a sophisticated cyberattack, but the company is calling what they are dealing with a “network outage.”

Local 10 sources said that a hacker is holding the automotive dealer hostage for money.

The employee, who wanted to remain anonymous, said a notice flashed on some of Braman’s computers. “The whole system at Braman crashed and we got a ransom note from the hackers. They took the whole system out and they are asking for money.”

The employee had a photo of the computer screen dated April 15, 2021 that said:

“We infiltrated your network . . . downloaded sensitive information” with a promise to “unlock” the compromised data for a “ransom.”

Adding, “Don’t panic, we are doing business, not war.”

“They want to keep it quiet,” the employee told us. “They got the FBI involved.”

The FBI in Miami will not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

According to the FBI’s 2020 internet crime report, the number of reported ransomware complaints — that’s when cyber criminals render a victim’s computer unusable demanding money to recover files — is up.

More than 65 percent from 2018, according to the report.

FBI 2020 Internet Crime Report Statistics

2020: 2,474

2019: 2,047

2018: 1,493

See the report: Click here.

The report goes on to say that “the FBI does not advocate paying a ransom, in part because it does not guarantee an organization will regain access to its data.”

We asked the employee: “Do you know if customer information is at risk?”

“Oh yeah, everything is at risk, everything, everything.”

The company’s general counsel did not address questions about whether customer data has been compromised.

In a statement they told Local 10 News they experienced a “network outage, which is currently impacting our operations. We are working diligently to restore systems at our dealerships as quickly and safely as possible. Our investigation into this matter in ongoing.”

Excited for the new blue BMW, Tiffany and Joe shared what staff at Braman told them Friday when they picked up their car.

“It is true, the process took longer than it normally should, but they still made it happen.”

They said they were told the systems have been down since Thursday and the company was working to get it back up.

[RELATED: Ransomware gang targets Broward County schools]

You may remember earlier this month, it was reported that Broward County Public Schools faced a similar threat with experts telling us that many times the ransomware attacks come in “simplest forms,” such as emails that contain malicious files or links.

With ransomware attacks becoming more common, targeted and costly, the FBI recommends organizations invest in a robust system of backups so they can restore information

Again, Braman Motors would not say whether any customer information was compromised.

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."