Bitcoin exchanges and news outlets figure prominently in the targeted list for DDoS attacks by cybercriminals, usually for purposes of extortion, in bitcoin.
DDoS attacks are arguably the most prominent and crippling form of cyberattacks, capable of taking down entire platforms, besides mere website. A notable example is the seemingly annual takedown of the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, two popular console gaming networks.
At a time when DDoS attacks are continually breaking records with a swarm of thousands of compromised CCTC cameras making for an IoT botnet army, DDoS-for-hire services can easily enable cybercriminals to engage in extortion while targeting individual websites.
Prominent bitcoin news portal CoinDesk saw a short-lived disruption today. This author tried to access the website earlier and noticed the website’s DDoS mitigation service kick in. A little while later, the website was offline for a short time.
CoinDesk confirmed the outage on a social media post.
CoinDesk is experiencing technical difficulties. Hoping to be back online soon!
— CoinDesk (@coindesk) October 4, 2016
While unconfirmed, it is plausible that the outage was the result of a DDoS attack. A representative for CoinDesk could not be reached at the time of publishing.
Hacked and sister-site CCN, a bitcoin and cryptocurrency news portal, have both seen temporary outages induced by a DDoS extortionist in the past.
The DDoS attacker, who went by ‘Jon’, wrote:
[Pay us now] or we will keep attacking your website, we have only used 20% of the machines we have enslaved by our Trojan
If you don’t pay us those 2 BTC today, you will have to pay 3 BTC tomorrow.
Having reinforced the websites’ DDoS protection, a bug bounty was put up for 5 bitcoins (approx. $1600 at the time), for any information that would lead to a successful police report. Although the information ascertained proved insufficient for that police report, both websites continue to frequently see targeted DDoS traffic, which are continually blocked by mitigation providers.
Other Bitcoin news outlets including CoinTelgraph and NewsBTC have reportedly seen attacks in the past.
Bitcoin exchanges frequently see attacks, with several notable instances of downtimes due to DDoS-led disruptions. Affected exchanges include the likes of Kraken, BTC-e, BitGo, BitBargain and Bitcoin Co. Ltd , to count a few.
Featured image from Shutterstock.