A South Korean web hosting company that allegedly hosted an illegal gambling site is in trouble with authorities for organising a series of “cyber attacks” on competing illegal online casinos in order to grab gambling business from rival gangsters.
Between November 21st and December 15th, 2010, Lee, 32, head of the computer server company along with Park, 37, a hacker working for an Incheon based crime gang which owned the gambling site, organised distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) against 109 rival casino websites every day.
Incheon gang member Yeom, 34, also purchased a list of 50,000 infected computers from Chinese criminals, which he then gave to Lee and Park in order to further distribute malicious software.
The ultimate aim of the gang was to disrupt the operations of rival casino sites in order to force gamblers to seek other sites to wager on, namely their own.
An additional aim of the cyber-attacks was to coerce websites into using Lee’s company’s server, with those not willing to register for hosting services laying themselves open to attack. This was the case with a job-seeking site that refused to do business with him and chose to use another provider instead.
Several members of the Korean crime gang were arrested on January 9th in connection with the high-tech crime, and commenting on the case the prosecutor in charge said:
“It is the first time that a crime ring has hired a professional hacker, provided necessary equipment and made systematic DDoS attack.”
In the West, DDoS extortion scams have become less popular partly due to a number of high-profile prosecutions. However, they have recently been in the spotlight once more after a network of “hacktivists,” including ‘Anonymous’ organised a mass DDoS attack against Amazon, PayPal and MasterCard who cooperated with the US government in order to suppress WikiLeaks.