Akamai shared details of an increase in DDoS attacks from the Bitcoin extortionist group DD4BC, based on observation of attack traffic targeted at customers from September 2014 through August 2015.
Since April 2015, they identified 114 DD4BC attacks, including more aggressive measures that target brand reputation through social media.
“DD4BC has been using the threat of DDoS attacks to secure Bitcoin payments from its victims for protection against future attacks,” said Stuart Scholly, Senior VP & General Manager, Security Division at Akamai. “The latest attacks – focused primarily on the financial service industry – involved new strategies and tactics intended to harass, extort and ultimately embarrass the victim publically.”
The DD4BC group has been responsible for a large number of Bitcoin extortion campaigns dating back to 2014. In the past year, the group expanded its extortion and DDoS campaigns to target a wider array of business sectors – including financial services, media and entertainment, online gaming and retailers.
The group has used e-mail to inform its target that a low-level DDoS attack will be launched against the victim’s website. From June through July 2015, the attacks increased from low-level to more than 20 Gbps in some cases. The group would then demand a Bitcoin ransom to protect the company from a larger DDoS attack designed to make its website inaccessible.
DD4BC recently threatened to expose targeted organizations via social media, adding to the damage caused by the DDoS attack itself. The goal apparently is to garner more attention for the group’s ability to create service disruptions by publicly embarrassing the target and tarnishing the company’s reputation through these wide-reaching channels.
The group’s methodology typically includes use of multi-vector DDoS attack campaigns, revisiting former targets and also incorporating Layer 7 DDoS in multi-vector attacks, specifically concentrating on the WordPress pingback vulnerability. This vulnerability is exploited to repeatedly send reflected GET requests to the target to overload the website. Akamai researchers have seen this attack method incorporated into DDoS booter suite frameworks.