It seems hackers no longer even need to hack anymore in order to get money from their would-be victims. Hacking group Armada Collective have raked in thousands of dollars by faking DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attacks and sending emails to organisations claiming an attack was imminent when in fact it couldn’t be further from the truth. They are certainly not the first or only ones to be doing this, but their resources mean they have been able to target more victims. The mere threat of a DDoS attack, and its effect on business operations and commercial performance, means in many cases the would-be victims are quick to pay up.
The Armada Collective made their name with extensive attacks on email services in late 2015, and it seems their reputation precedes them. However, not all companies threatened did in fact pay the collective, and whilst they continued to receive threats, there is no report of any DDoS attack actually being carried out. It certainly highlights the issues around cyber extortion and the increasing use of threats of imminent attacks against organisations. The question remains whether it’s better to pay up or refuse payment and risk an attack – and the answer at this stage is probably to have the best possible security systems and contingency plans in place to mitigate attacks should they actually occur.