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The National Football League team had files encrypted on their corporate IT network, according to a spokesperson.

The attack was confirmed earlier in the day on February 13th, 2022 after BlackByte ransomware named the 49ers on a dark web site as a victim of theirs. This type of “leak” is done to force victims into paying the ransom demands of the attacker.

The team is currently conducting an ongoing investigation with the help of third-party cybersecurity groups and has notified law enforcement of the issue. A spokesperson mentioned that they have no reason to believe the attack affected outside sources, only their corporate network.

If San Francisco had qualified for Super Bowl LVI this past week, the attack may have had a severe impact on the team’s game preparations. It’s currently unclear if this current issue will have an affect on the upcoming NFL season for the 49ers.

BlackByte, who conducted the operation, uses a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) model whereby they rent out ransomware to other entities. The “affiliates” then target organizations and encrypt their files. Once information has been encrypted or stolen, BlackByte then blackmails victims by threatening to release their files onto the dark web.

The group first started their attacks in September of 2021, and have (according to an FBI security alert) compromised critical US infrastructure sectors and foreign businesses.

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