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December 2003

Stop enterprise cyberextorion by breaking the silence

Once again the veil of secrecy is working in favor of "hacktortionists" -- hackers who shake down businesses with the threat of digital attacks. The Financial Times reports several U.K. businesses have fallen victim to this ploy. The scam goes something like this: A hacker contacts a targeted company and demands a payment of up to $50,000. Failure to pay incurs a DDoS attack, which -- if successful -- could cost many multiples of the extortion demand. DDoS attacks are nothing new and not very sophisticated. Since that day in 2000 when MafiaBoy launched his sweeping attacks against Yahoo, Amazon and CNN, the technique has been used by everyone from activists protesting public policy to organized hacker and crime gangs looking to make a quick buck. There are a number of examples of how DDoS attacks have impacted the Internet. In 2001, a massive DDoS attack took out Microsoft's DNS routers, which slowed Internet traffic and denied access to the Microsoft corporate Web site and any site hosted on the MSN network. Last year, a ...

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