‘Lizard Squad’ blackmail threat to businesses

Hacker using laptop. Lots of digits on the computer screen. PPP-160119-104417001
Hacker using laptop. Lots of digits on the computer screen. PPP-160119-104417001

Police are warning businesses in Sussex of a hacking group which is threatening to take websites offline unless a ransom is paid.

Action Fraud sounded the alert after a number of businesses throughout the UK received extortion demands from a group calling itself Lizard Squad since Thursday (April 28).

The group has sent emails demanding payment of five Bitcoins, to be paid by a certain time and date. The email states that this demand will increase by five Bitcoins for each day that it goes unpaid.

If their demand is not met, they have threatened to launch a Denial of Service attack against the businesses’ websites and networks, taking them offline until payment is made.

The demand states that once their actions have started, they cannot be undone.

Lizard Squad has previously been linked to attacks on major websites including Facebook, Instagram and Tinder.

Action Fraud has told businesses who have received one of these demands to take the following steps:

* Report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or by using the online reporting tool

* Do not pay the demand

* Retain the original emails (with headers)

* Maintain a timeline of the attack, recording all times, type and content of the contact

If you are experiencing a Denial of Service attack right now you should:

* Report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 immediately

* Call your Internet Service Provider (ISP) (or hosting provider if you do not host your own web server), tell them you are under attack and ask for help

* Keep a timeline of events and save server logs, web logs, email logs, any packet capture, network graphs, reports etc

To protect your business from a Denial of Service attack you are advised to take the following steps:

* Consider the likelihood and risks to your organisation of such an attack, and put appropriate threat reduction/mitigation measures in place

* If you consider that protection is necessary, speak to a Denial of Service prevention specialist

* Whether you are at risk of a Denal of Service attack or not, you should have the hosting facilities in place to handle large, unexpected volumes of website hits

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