Bouygues, the giant French construction company, has reported that its IT systems are returning to normal after a major ransomware attack at the end of January.

The incident is of particular importance to Monaco because Bouygues is the major contractor on the Portier land extension project.

In a statement on February 5, Bouygues said that the company and outside technology teams were “continuing to restore the information system and gradually bring the functionalities back into service.” The company added that its various construction projects had not been affected by the attack.

According to many tech and cybersecurity websites the Bouygues ransomware attack was carried out by a Russian hacker gang called Maze, which steals data and threatens to post it on a publicly viewable website, and locks up a victim’s computer systems.

The Maze ransomware operators said that they encrypted 237 computers and more than 1,000 Terabytes of data in the Bouygues attack.

According to specialist website, it’s not unusual for the group to charge its victims twice, $1m for the decryption key and a further $1m for ‘deletion’ of the stolen data. There’s the added jeopardy that, if they’re not paid, stolen data will be leaked onto Russian hacker forums, as has happened in the past.

Law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has said: “Contractors are not necessarily targeted for their own data, but as a means of obtaining access to their client’s data or systems.” There are reports that confidential details of Bouygues employees were stolen in the Maze attack.

Bouygues itself said that following the hack: “The Bouygues Construction Group was immediately forced to create a provisional email address for each employee so that discussions between service providers, subcontractors and stakeholders can continue.”

There have been reports that the Maze hackers have demanded the sum of 10 million euros to restore the stolen information.

Bouygues has been widely praised for making the attack public.

PHOTO: Located outside Paris on a 75-acre site, the Bouygues headquarters complex was built in two phases and houses 2,900 employees with parking for 2,600 cars.