Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


09:10 AM

Extortionists Demand Ransom In 'Empty' DDoS Threats

Gang of cybercriminals calling itself the Armada Collective threatens online businesses in return for Bitcoins.

An extortionist hacker group calling itself Armada Collective is sending e-mail threats to organizations demanding money or they will wage distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against them -- but the DDoS threats apparently are a ruse.

CloudFlare discovered some 100 organizations who were threatened with a "protection fee" with payment to be made in Bitcoins ranging from 10- to 50, about $4,600 to $23,000. Thus far, the group, which goes by the name of a former DDoS gang, has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars, without even carrying out one DDoS attack.

The email campaign warns the recipient to pay up or face powerful DDoS attacks of "sometimes over 1 Tbps per second." It even goes on to claim that the attacks will bypass CloudFlare and other protection providers. 

"Our conclusion was a bit of a surprise: we've been unable to find a single incident where the current incarnation of the Armada Collective has actually launched a DDoS attack. In fact, because the extortion emails reuse Bitcoin addresses, there's no way the Armada Collective can tell who has paid and who has not. In spite of that, the cybercrooks have collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in extortion payments," wrote Matthew Prince, CEO of CloudFlare in a blog post.

The same company is sometimes sent the identical threat mail over and over again even if it has paid the extortion fee. There is also no correlation between the size of the victim organization and the sum demanded from it, according to CloudFlare.

Read more about the extortion scheme on the CloudFlare Blog

Dark Reading's Quick Hits delivers a brief synopsis and summary of the significance of breaking news events. For more information from the original source of the news item, please follow the link provided in this article. View Full Bio

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Ninja
4/26/2016 | 3:25:15 PM
Its amazing that they have amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars without providing any proof they could back it up. I can't understand why an organization would submit to a threat so whimsically.
User Rank: Strategist
4/26/2016 | 11:58:31 AM
Akaimi seemed to think they have (or once had) capability
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 5/28/2020
Stay-at-Home Orders Coincide With Massive DNS Surge
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/27/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Can you smell me now?
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
There is an Incorrect Authorization vulnerability in Micro Focus Service Management Automation (SMA) product affecting version 2018.05 to 2020.02. The vulnerability could be exploited to provide unauthorized access to the Container Deployment Foundation.
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
A Denial of Service vulnerability in MuleSoft Mule CE/EE 3.8.x, 3.9.x, and 4.x released before April 7, 2020, could allow remote attackers to submit data which can lead to resource exhaustion.
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker before 4.72.2 are vulnerable to Arbitrary File Read. It allows arbitrary file reads for users who have access to Snyk's internal network by appending the URL with a fragment identifier and a whitelisted path e.g. `#package.json`
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker after 4.72.0 including and before 4.73.1 are vulnerable to Arbitrary File Read. It allows arbitrary file reads to users with access to Snyk's internal network of any files ending in the following extensions: yaml, yml or json.
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker before 4.73.1 are vulnerable to Information Exposure. It logs private keys if logging level is set to DEBUG.