Since the beginning of 2015, an increasing number of technology firms and bitcoin startups have been targeted by anonymous hackers demanding bitcoin ransoms.
Leading bitcoin exchange Kraken and encrypted email service provider Protonmail are two of many victims suffering from extremely powerful Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that have effectively shut down some of their servers and databases for weeks.
According to Protonmail, the hackers begun to target its datacenter that is shared with other Swiss technology firms in Geneva, leaving no choice for the team to pay over US$6,000 in bitcoin ransom to the hackers, requesting an immediate termination of the DDoS attacks.
“The coordinated assault on our ISP exceeded 100Gbps and attacked not only the datacenter, but also routers in Zurich, Frankfurt, and other locations where our ISP has nodes. This coordinated assault on key infrastructure eventually managed to bring down both the datacenter and the ISP, which impacted hundreds of other companies, not just ProtonMail.” the company announced.
However, the attacks continued and a national investigation was launched by the Cybercrime Coordination Unit Switzerland and the Swiss Governmental Computer Emergency Response team as an attempt to devise a plan against the hackers and help tech firms mitigate the attacks.
“We have been working with the Swiss Governmental Computer Emergency Response Team (GovCERT), the Cybercrime Coordination Unit Switzerland (CYCO), as part of an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted here in Switzerland and with the assistance of Europol,” said Protonmail.
San Francisco-based bitcoin exchange Kraken has also received an extortion letter demanding a few bitcoins after the launch of long-term DDoS attack that has continued since October 31.
“The site is under DDoS at the moment. Extortion letter received. Obviously, not paying. Please bear with us,” reported Kraken.
Currently, the services of Kraken and Protonmail are back to normal and Swiss tech firms announced the continuation of their online operations.
“I don’t know what’s worse–the DDoS or all the crazy ambulance chaser DDoS protection service spammers. Systems back to normal now,” announced the Kraken team on Twitter.
Yesterday, the newsBTC team has also received a bitcoin ransom blackmail from anonymous hackers, who have launched two immense DDoS attacks over the past two days.
However, newsBTC has successfully mitigated the attacks and refused to pay the ransom.
According to the extortion letter received by newsBTC earlier this morning, the hackers demanded 1 bitcoin for the termination of the DDoS attacks.