‘Showdown Year’ for Cyber-Attacks Has Hackers Demanding Ransom in Bitcoin …

NEW YORK (The Street) — Data breaches at eBay (EBAY), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Home Depot  (HD) coupled with cyber-attacks on U.S. government agencies show the risks posed by hackers will only increase, regulators warn, and finance companies are finding themselves on the front lines.

A case in point is the recent warning from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or Finra, that a hacker group known as DD4BC has threatened denial-of-service attacks on its members unless they pay a ransom in the digital currency Bitcoin.

The group typically gives the targeted firm a warning that sets a price to avoid the attack, Finra said. The next step is a “demonstration attack” accompanied by a demand for payment within 24 hours. Ransom demands for large firms have ranged from several thousand to several hundred thousand dollars, Finra said. Firms in New Zealand and Australia have been targeted, too, and the Swiss government sounded an alarm about DD4BC earlier this year.

“In many ways, it is a showdown year,” said Kevin Petrasic, a partner in the banking and payment systems division at law firm Paul Hastings, which has offices in New York, Europe and Asia. “There are various reasons for this that have largely coalesced into a sort of ‘cybersecurity perfect storm.’ In effect, our connectedness is creating greater, and in some cases, easier targets for financial theft via cybercrimes, and the remoteness of cybercriminals’ activities similarly promotes these risks.”

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A variety of government agencies are urging companies to ramp up cyber-security systems to protect both their own businesses and their customers’ data. The Federal Trade

Originally appeared at: http://www.thestreet.com/story/13212192/1/showdown-year-for-cyber-attacks-has-hackers-demanding-ransom-in-bitcoin.html