According to reports, Protonmail, a secure email firm in Switzerland has been forced to pay a ransom of more than £3,600 after hackers crippled its website.
Protonmail is a free web-based email service that fully relies on its website to provide services to its customers.
In a recent blog the company stated that on Tuesday 3rd November they were contacted via email threatening to attack the website through a distributed denial of service attack unless they paid the hackers 15 bitcoins.
This latest publicised attack follows worrying research released by Akamai Technologies, stating that the number of distributed denial of service attacks has nearly doubled since 2013. The report also showed that attackers seem to favour this brute force approach over more sophisticated means. With perhaps the most to lose by often offering an ‘as a service’ business model, gaming, software and technology sectors were targeted the most during quarter 4 of 2014.
What is a DDoS?
A distributed denial of service attack, also known as a DDoS, attempts to force a server offline by bombarding it with more data than it can handle. This typically results in the website and servers being temporarily or indefinitely suspended as often thousands of unique IP addresses request information from the server at the same time.
After not initially responding to the message the website was hit by the DDoS attack. Despite then paying the hackers the website attack continued leaving Protonmail struggling to operate with the deluge of data hitting its website.