Cyber extortion: a victim's story

When a Sydney financial-services business was hit with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, they learned the hard way that not all internet-hosting providers can deliver when it really counts.

When a Sydney financial-services business was hit with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, they learned the hard way that not all internet-hosting providers can deliver when it really counts.

In the week before Christmas, Manly-based Wealth Focus discovered that its online arm, fundsfocus.com.au, was offline, thanks to a flood of bogus website traffic. Their hosting provider couldn't stop it, and eventually just suspended their account, forcing a sudden move.

Meanwhile, the criminals emailed a demand: "I will stop only after you pay me the money. I advise you to quickly reply to me as the attack is very bad impact [sic] on your business."

The attack escalated. Originally hitting Wealth Focus' server from just 15 internet protocol (IP) addresses, the DDoS attack eventually involved 17,000 IP addresses.

In this week's Patch Monday podcast, proprietor Sulieman Ravell explains why he didn't submit to the criminals' demands, and what every business should be looking for in an internet-hosting provider.

Patch Monday also includes my usual look at some of last week's news headlines.

To leave an audio comment on the program, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone (02) 8011 3733.

Running time: 18 minutes, 01 second

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