The extraordinary volatility of the price of bitcoin has spurred speculators to employ a wide variety of tricks to make it swing between extremes, so that they can take advantage of it.
The unregulated nature of the cryptocurrency ecosystem makes it possible for things like statements by widely esteemed financial executives to have a sizeable impact on the currency’s price.
Another way to influence the price is through DDoS attacks against bitcoin exchange sites.
There’s a lot of money to be made
According to a recently released report by Imperva, three out of four bitcoin exchanges and related sites that use their services were hit with DDoS attacks in Q3 2017.
“Overall, more than 73% of all bitcoin sites using our services were attacked this quarter, making it one of the most targeted industries, despite its relatively small size and web presence,” the company noted.
Online gambling and gaming sites sites and related services are a common target, as they are reliant on web revenue and exposed to extortion attempts, the company pointed out.
It’s possible that the DDoS attacks against bitcoin exchange sites are also made with the goal to extort money, but it’s more likely that they are attempts to manipulate the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency – especially because similar attacks have been tried in the past.
A synchronised attack on several popular services, making them inaccessible while rumours are spread about the reason behind the outage, can allowing criminals to “earn” considerable sums by simply buying cryptocoin while the price in on a downturn, and waiting for the price to return to previous levels once the rumours are debunked and the sites are available again.
“This is a clear example of DDoS attackers following the money. As a rule, extortionists and other cybercriminals are commonly drawn to successful online industries, especially emerging ones that are less likely to be well-protected,” Igal Zeifman, director at Imperva Incapsula noted.