Ashley Madison Customers Facing More Trouble

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Cyber-security company, Digital Shadows predicted that Ashley Madison customers would get extorted following the site’s data breach.

The extortion have come to light when Digital Shadows noticed a WordPress user, ‘ernieman’ posted that he had been threatened by an individual claiming to represent sharingservices [@] aol.com. Similar email addresses had been reported by other users as well. These emails have mentioned that the recipient was a customer of the  extramarital affair site, Ashley Madison, and must pay one bitcoin, currently valued at £180, into a specific Bitcoin wallet and if not “cheating and lies secret” would be exposed to the world. However, it’s not known for sure if these receipients were actually customers of Ashley Madison.

DD4BC gang is said to have carried out these attacks. The group first appeared in November 2014, and created its presence in cyber-crime with its strategy of carrying out DDoS attacks against large companies and financial institutions around the world and then holding their websites to ransom in exchange for the untraceable cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.

Heimdall Security, described the gang’s modus operandi :

“The cyber-criminals’ method is to launch a massive and violent DDoS attack against a selected target that last approximately one hour.”

This opening salvo, usually of a strength between 10 and 20 Gbps, usually brings down key parts of the victim’s infrastructure. After the first attack, the still-reeling victim will receive an email saying that that first attack was just a taste of what is to come unless they pay, usually giving the victim a day to pay. If the victim doesn’t pay they threaten to increase the ransom several-fold and increase that figure the longer the victim ignores their blackmail.

The group has said to one of its victims via email, “please note that it will not be easy to mitigate our attack, because our current UDP flood power is 400 to 500  Gbps.” in the final quarter of 2014, the average size of a  DDoS attack was more than 7 Gbps. Research by the Swiss Government showed that DD4BC’s attack capacity is nearly 1,000 times the capacity of a DSL line.

Digital Shadows says  that it’s likely that those email addresses were pulled off publicly available lists.

Ashley Madison

However, Drew Perry, the group chief cyber-analyst at cyber-security company Ascot Barclay says that DD4BC may not be involved in this at all.

“It is possible that DD4BC has changed tactics and is cashing in on the vulnerable state of the exposed Ashley Madison customers…since the email address source has been used in the past, prior to DD4BC existing, I suspect this is an actor simply using the DD4BC brand.”

The email address in question emerged before DD4BC ever did and has been implicated in other scams, “none of which fit the DD4BC profile.”

Werner Thalmeier, director of security solutions at Radware, also thinks that this doesn’t fit DD4BC’s modus operandi, as they used to go after large banks and companies: “IF this is true and it now goes after regular (and foolish Ashley Madison) users and sends them ransom mails to get money, it would be a complete change of its ‘business model’.” He believes another group is using the DD4BC’s name to threaten the users and extract money.

We will keep you updated on this story…


Source: Akati

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