Feeds

Miscreant menaces Meetup, minuscule money mania mashed

$300 or the trendy website gets it ... and the website got it

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Meetup.com has gone public with one of the most paltry ransom demands The Register has seen – but rather than pay up to end a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, the klatch organizer instead put up with its site being repeatedly hosed offline, we're told.

The website said its woes began on Thursday when it received a demand for a mere US$300 to halt a web traffic assault. Meetup.com CEO and co-founder Scott Heiferman posted the text of an e-mail he said he received from the extortionist:

“A competitor asked me to perform a DDoS attack on your website. I can stop the attack for $300 USD. Let me know if you are interested in my offer.”

Heiferman said the attack on his company's web servers began as soon as the message was sent, and in spite of various attempts to mitigate the assault, the incoming network flood knocked the site off the internet for 24 hours on Thursday, and again on a daily basis through to Sunday.

“While we’re confident that we’re taking all the necessary steps to protect against the threat, it’s possible that we’ll face outages in the days ahead,” Heiferman said today.

His conclusion is that the initial low-ball demand was simply a gambit: if Meetup.com had submitted to it, more money would have been demanded next time and word would have spread: “We made a decision not to negotiate with criminals”, Heiferman wrote. “This is an attack on everyone who believes that people can be powerful together.”

The Register would also speculate that the low-ball threat is designed to make any target simply pay up and shut up, leaving the attackers to move on to the next company. Either way, props to Heiferman for his response.

The company assures its users that their data has not been stolen: the DDoS attacks have been designed for the sole purpose of overwhelming the business's servers and keeping the site offline. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.