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Extortion racket borks Basecamp servers with 20Gbps web bombing

Project wrangling biz goes titsup for two hours after refusing to pay crims

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Users of Basecamp's project management software experienced an outage this morning, with more possible in the future, after the company was blown off the internet in a distributed denial-of-service attack when it refused to pay off crooks.

The attack hit at 0846 Central Time (1346 UTC) on Monday and knocked the company's servers offline for little over two hours; the flood of traffic hit a peak of 20Gbps. Basecamp has restored services to 95 per cent of customers, but warned more attacks are likely.

"We've learned that the very same criminals currently attacking and trying to extort us, hit others just last week. We're comparing notes with everyone affected who have been in touch," the Basecamp team said on Github.

"The blackmail came from an address matching this pattern: dari***@gmail.com. If you have been extorted by this person, please get in contact so we can compare notes on both technical defenses and the law enforcement effort to hunt them down."

Basecamp, the firm set up by Ruby-on-Rails creator David Heinemeier Hansson and until recently known as 37signals, has more than 285,000 companies using its online project management tools. The attack was timed to cause maximum Monday morning disruption to customers, and encourage the firm to pay up.

The biz said it has backup systems in place in case the attackers take another shot at it, and it should have the preliminary results of a forensic analysis of the assault available within 48 hours, provided no more attacks take place to distracted its staff.

"We may well still be attacked again, but for now it's about cleaning up the damage. We again thank everyone for their patience. This has been a horrible morning," the firm said. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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