At the very least, a trio of UK-based electronic retail websites have been inundated with DDoS attacks by hackers holding the websites to ransom in exchange for Bitcoin. The websites have suffered temporary outage and have since put up a bounty to round up on the bitcoin-seeking attackers.
Electronic retailers Aria Technology, Novatech and Scan Computers have all been targeted by hackers, resulting in the temporary disruption of services on their websites.
Aria, in particular, announced that while the temporary outages were caused by persons unknown, the means used to cause the disruption were in-fact distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Furthermore, the e-tailer put up a £15,000 (approx. $23,000) bounty to those who help track the hackers.
Speaking to CRN, Aria Taheri, Aria’s owner claimed the attackers sent an email to the company after taking down the website for a couple of hours to demand a payment of 16.66 bitcoins (approx. $4,500). The hackers threatened to take down the website for the entirety of Wednesday (the next day) if the ransom demands weren’t met.
Instead of complying with their attackers, Aria duly proceeded to put up a much larger amount in the form of a bounty to those who help track down the hackers.
In an announcement on their forums, a moderator representing Aria wrote:
Yesterday we were HACKED again!!
A year or so ago we suffered from a website hacker. A £10,000 bounty was put on this to help us catch them. This resulted in two raids by the Police in North London, confiscation of significant amount of computer equipment for a year and an immediate seizure of the attacks after the bounty was put up.
This is about the denial of service – and we need YOUR help.
This time a £15,000 bounty is being offered to track these hackers down.
Taheri says the reward as a bounty to catch the hackers is much higher than the ransom because he “wants to send a message” to the attackers and added that he would not pay the ransom as it would send the wrong message by leaving Aria vulnerable to other attackers with ransom demands.
Other retailers including ScanComputers and Novatech also took to Twitter to let customers know of website downtimes.
There have been other bounties on scammers and cybercriminals in the past with the reward of Bitcoins for who help catch criminals. Currently, a 110 BTC reward is up for grabs on BitcoinBountyHunter to those who help with the proven identity of DDoS-for-BTC (DD4BC), a notorious cybercriminal group on the rise who engage in blackmailing and targeting financial institutions, exchanges, online casinos and even bitcoin mining companies.