A global
phone insurance and tech support company headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee has
resorted to paying ransom to an alleged ex-staffer after receiving emails claiming
he stole private info of thousands of employees and more than a million
customers.

As reported by the Tennessean, Asurion isn’t entirely sure the attacker is an disgruntled ex-employee. However, an investigation by the FBI is quickly gathering evidence that said attacker is likely Nicholas Burks, of Antioch, a former Asurion employee who was fired in March.

Federal
court records reveal that the anonymous attacker sent an email to seven Asurion
executives with evidence that he has the data he claims he stole. From the
report:

“Asurion
then began to pay $50,000 a day to stall the extortionist while launching an
internal investigation and contacting the FBI, the warrant application states.
The company soon realized that a corporate laptop was missing and the last
known login was by Burks. Asurion then discovered that in the final days before
Burks was fired, the missing laptop – with four external hard drives attached –
was repeatedly used to access the corporate network.”

More clues emerged as law enforcement also began to follow Burks around. According to the warrant application, an officer watched the suspect as Asturion paid him a smaller-than-expected $5,000 installment, at which point he “picked up his cell phone and typed on it.” Asurion confirmed moments later that the anonymous extortionist had just replied, insisting that the company pay more.