Cybercrime in the spotlight: Extortion by means of DDos attacks

A cybercrime that has been around for a while, but companies are starting to admit to being victims of, is a distributed denial of service (DDos) attack done for the purpose of extorting money from the target company. A DDos attack is one in which a multitude of compromised systems attack a single target, thereby causing denial of service for users of the targeted system. The flood of incoming messages to the target system essentially forces it to shut down, thereby denying service to the system to legitimate users.

Some companies find it easier to pay off the attacker that is bringing their system down than dealing with it by strengthening their systems or working through law enforcement. According to an article at, a common method is for an attack to begin, then turned off after ten minutes accompanied by a monetary demand. Some are over $100,000.00, some are rather low. Obviously, a user facing a $12,000.00 IT investment in equipment capable of stopping the attack would find it tempting just to pay $6,000.00 to end it. Problem is – it probably won’t stop it forever.

Victims of such crimes in the United States would be much better suited contacting the FBI, in a partnership with the National White Collar Crime Center, through the jointly run Internet Crime Complaint Center website. Or, contact your local FBI office.






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