Extortion for Bitcoin has become more and more common within the United States, with families, businesses and even police departments under attack. Anywhere from a couple of bitcoins to one hundred or more are demanded. The problem has been domestic, but now other major Bitcoin markets like Australia and New Zealand are feeling the effects of those desperate enough for Bitcoin that they turn to a life of crime. A scourge of DOS attacks has hit the region, according to ZDNet.
“The networks of at least four New Zealand organizations that NZITF knows of have been affected, so far,” said NZITF chair Barry Brailey. “A number of Australian organizations have also been affected.”
In the West, attacks have become more common, with most recently police precincts in Illinois and families in Connecticut have felt the wrath of extortionists doing crimes for Bitcoin. The Connecticut families were targeted for $2000 each while the police department was hit for $500. Tewksbury, Mass police also paid $500 to get out from under the CryptoLocker virus of an extortionist.
The local authorities have advice for businesses that may be subject to future targeting in Australia and the region. This is what can be done to improve preparedness in the short-term.
“Where applicable, temporarily transfer online services to cloud-based hosting providers that have the ability to withstand DoS attacks,” the NCSC advises online businesses. Use a denial of service mitigation service for the duration of the DoS attack. Disable website functionality or remove content that is being specifically targeted by the DoS attack. For example, search functionality, dynamic content or large files.”
The New Zealand Internet Task Force is advising organizations to refuse to pay any such demands, as that would create an environment where one could see multiple attacks in the future. Contacting the Internet provider is advised.
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