E-commerce targeted by blackmailers
© 2003 BBC
Wednesday, 26th November 2003 [Excerpt] - Law enforcement agencies
are investigating an increasing number of reports of organised criminal gangs
carrying out denial-of-service (DDos) attacks - with the specific intention
of blackmailing companies.
A DDos attack, of the kind that brought down the WorldPay system earlier
this month, floods a website with computer-generated requests.
Now, some organised criminals are using the threat of inflicting such an
attack, which can cost vast amounts of money to the company, as a means of
"Criminal syndicates operating from Russia
have targeted large online payment systems that belong to gambling sites,"
DK Matai of mi2g, which monitors unauthorised computer
hacking, told BBC World Service's Analysis programme.
"In some cases the criminal syndicates have
made subsequent phone calls and said, 'look, you have to pay us $40,000 or
$50,000 before we will stop mounting these DDos attacks. If you don't pay
us, then be ready for another day of disruption for your customers'."
"Some companies, because they are making
more than $50,000 per week, have agreed to pay that money."
DDos attacks work by flooding a website with malicious traffic, causing it
to slow down.
mi2g estimate that the damage to the global economy in terms of both
denial of service and productivity losses reached over $10bn in October alone.
The company maintains close contacts with the law enforcement agencies on
both sides of the Atlantic.
It has identified Russia - along with other emerging middle-income nations
such as India, China and Brazil - as the country where many of the criminal
hackers appear to be based.
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