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DD4BC Extortionist Group Launched Over 140 DDoS Attacks: Akamai

Akamai Technologies' Prolexic Security Engineering and Response Team (PLXsert) has published a report detailing the activities of DD4BC, an extortionist group that has launched distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against numerous organizations and demanded Bitcoin payments to stop the attacks.

Akamai started monitoring the group’s activities in September 2014. According to the company, DD4BC launched a total of 141 attacks between September 2014 and August 2015 against organizations in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. It’s worth noting that the 141 attacks are just the ones Akamai has been able to confirm -- the total number of global attacks is likely even higher.

Until July 24, the attackers had targeted 124 unique businesses, 58 percent of which were in the financial services industry (banking and credit unions, currency exchanges, and payment processors). Other victims were spotted in sectors such as media and entertainment, online gaming, retail, hotel and travel, software, Internet and telecom, and education.

Targeted organizations receive up to five ransom emails in which they are instructed to pay between 25 ($6,000) and 100 ($24,000) Bitcoin to prevent from being hit by 400-500 Gbps DDoS attacks. However, Akamai has pointed out that the average peak bandwidth for all the attacks observed by the company was 13.34 Gbps, with the largest attack peaking at 56 Gbps -- nowhere near 400-500 Gbps.

More recently, DD4BC has turned to other methods to convince targeted organizations to pay up.

“dd4bc now threatens to expose a targeted organization via social media, in addition to the damage caused by the DDoS attack itself. The goal is to publicly embarrass the target, thus harming the company’s reputation and garnering more attention and credibility for its ability to create service disruptions,” Akamai explained in its report.

DD4BC has used NTP (22%), SSDP (15%), UDP (15%) and SYN (13%) floods to disrupt their targets. Some attacks have involved the WordPress pingback vulnerability.

Akamai expects the threat group to continue its attacks and expand it range of targets to other types of organizations, particularly ones that might have a lot to lose if their systems suffer downtime.

Organizations have been advised to deploy anomaly and signature-based DDoS detection systems, distribute resources to increase resiliency, and place DDoS mitigation appliances in strategic locations on their network.

Akamai said it mitigated 75 attacks, but the company pointed out that customers who had taken proactive measures were not affected by the attack traffic.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.