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Basecamp Briefly Knocked Offline in DDoS Extortion Scheme

Basecamp has become the latest victim of DDoS extortion attempt by cybercriminals.

Formerly 37Signals, Basecamp is behind the popular management tool of the same name. According to the company, its network was targeted by attackers this morning who were looking for a quick score.

The situation began at 8:36 a.m. CST. By 10:56 a.m., service was restored for roughly 95 percent of Basecamp customers. 

"The attackers tried to extort us for money to make it stop," Basecamp CTO David Heinemeier Hansson blogged. "We refused to give in and worked with our network providers to mitigate the attack the best we could. Then, about two hours after the attack started, it suddenly stopped."

The attack is believed by some to have been perpetrated by the same group that hit others recently, including Meetup.com and Fotolia. In the Meetup case, the attackers offered to end the DDoS attack against the site in exchange for $300. Hansson did not mention the amount of money the attackers requested, but made it very clear what the answer was. 

"There is unfortunately no single, quick fix to these attacks, so we regretfully ask for your patience in advance," Hansson explained in a post on GitHub Gist. "As said, we're doing everything we can, and will work as quickly as possible, but it's impossible to give a clear timeline for ultimate resolution. The only thing we're certain of is that, like Meetup, we will never negotiate by criminals, and we will not succumb to blackmail. That would only set us up as an easy target for future attacks."

At its height, the attack reached up to 20 Gbps, according to the CTO. Basecamp has combined its efforts with law enforcement and other victims. For the time being, the company remains on high alert.

"These criminals are sophisticated and well-armed," he noted on the company blog. "Still, we want to apologize for such mayhem on a Monday morning. Basecamp, and our other services, are an integral part of how most of our customers get work done. While no data was compromised in this attack, not being able to get to your data when you need it is unacceptable."

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