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Armada Collective strike Again and an Upcoming Bitcoin-Extorting DDoS Attack?

A group of cybercriminals claiming to be the Armada Collective have sent a new wave of extortion demands by email to the owners of independent and small business websites around the world, demanding bitcoin ransoms and threatening to launch a huge new Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on Tuesday 6 September.

Duc-Dao-623x410Many internet users have received an email demanding a ransom of 1 BTC. The sender, claiming to be from Armada Collective has threatened to launch a 10-300 Gbps DDoS attack on the servers of those who fail to pay before 8:00 PM on Tuesday. The email also claims that once the DDoS attack is underway, they won’t stop unless the victims pay 20 BTCs.

The email also provides the targets with instructions to buy and send Bitcoin to the mentioned wallet address. The Bitcoin address mentioned in the threat has not received any ransom yet.

However, whether the email is truly from Armada Collective is not proven. As a matter of fact, this is not the first group(In Mandarin) to call themselves the Armada Collective. The group went silent in November 2015. It’s suspected that “Armada Collective” was originally one of the names used by the DD4BC DDoS extortion group. Alleged members of DD4BC were arrested in January 2016 as part of Europol’s Operation Pleiades.

Ransomware are not uncommon. It is computer malware that installs covertly on a victim’s computer, executes a cryptovirology attack that adversely affects it, and demands a ransompayment to restore it. Simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, and display a message requesting payment to unlock it. More advanced malware encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.

In 2015, DDoS attacks have hit an all-time high, up 132% year-on-year from 2014, according to security and networking firm Akamai.

If you’re worried about your own protection, getting a VPN will help add that extra layer to your security.

Reina Ho

Reina Ho is a freelance reporter who focuses on censorship and information control in online space.

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