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The armada

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Monday, June 27, 2016

This issue's material has been provided by Anti-virus Times project participant Alexander Sh. from Belarus

A DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack involves a targeted or accidental, simultaneous dispatch of a large number of queries to a machine or network resource in order to make access to it momentarily difficult or impossible. The attacked server simply doesn't have enough time to process all the requests, chokes on them, and becomes temporarily unavailable.

In today's Internet, a DDoS attack is a powerful tool. Perhaps, even a weapon. It is a common belief that most often it is used in commercial and political wars, for revenge or simply to do mischief. However, some perpetrators use DDoS attacks to intimidate and blackmail people and extort money.

Entire criminal groups specialise in DDoS attacks. Some of them have earned fame as well as prison terms—the supposed leaders of the Armada Collective group arrested in connection with the DD4BC (DDoS for Bitcoin) case may soon just get the latter.

The group rose to fame by threatening various organisations and site owners with DDoS attacks and demanding ransoms. Sometimes, the fraudsters carried out their threats.

However, there are criminals who aren't frightened by the fate of the Armada Collective attackers.

According to CloudFlare, a group calling themselves Armada Collective mailed ransom demands of 10-50 BTC to over one hundred companies. Any delays in payment resulted in larger ransom amounts. Refusals to comply with the demand resulted in a 1Tb/sec DDoS attack. All threat recipients chose to comply and paid the ransom. Thus, the unknown fraudsters effortlessly capitalised on the Armada Collective’s notoriety.

Companies transferred over $100,000 to the perpetrators' bitcoin wallet.

It turned out that instead of contacting law enforcement agencies, the victims used Google to learn whether the Armada Collective would go through with their threats. Fear prevented them from calmly assessing the situation and making the right decision.

The Anti-virus Times recommends

  1. Remember that extortion is also a crime punishable by law.
  2. Never pander to criminals! If you’ve become a target of criminals, keep your composure and use common sense. Comply with the criminals' demands once, and you will become their target for good.
  3. Read our DDoS column to learn how to protect yourself and never become an involuntary participant of a DDoS attack.


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