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HACKERS BLACKMAIL MILLIONDOLLAR SITE

Source: Financial Times

Posted on January 18, 2006

      The FBI is investigating the hijacking of milliondollarhomepage.com - the website that earned $1,000,000 (566,000) for its British creator Alex Tew by hosting micro-advertisements - by hackers who demanded a ransom to restore the site.

      Mr Tew was sent a demand for $50,000 by e-mail by a hacker, believed to be Russian. When he refused, the website crashed.

      The e-mail, which was made available exclusively to the Financial Times, read: Hello u website is under us atack to stop the DDoS send us 50000$.

      Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant, said: "DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack is a common way to block internet users accessing a site by flooding the website with traffic.

      "In August 2005 a US teenager was sentenced to five years juvenile detention for launching DDoS attacks against online sportswear retailers costing the company over $1.5m."

      Several gambling websites, as well as companies such as Microsoft, Ebay, Yahoo and CNN have also been victims of such attacks.

      Mr Tew first received a threat on January 7 from a body calling itself The Dark Group, demanding $5,000.

      He thought the blackmail was a hoax and took little notice.

      However, on Friday, Russell Weiss, president of InfoRelay, the internet server of milliondollarhomepage.com, told Mr Tew that the website was experiencing very high traffic and there was a risk that it could break down.

      On Wednesday when Mr Tew sold the final 1000 pixels on his site for $38,100 on Ebay, reaching his goal of earning $1m, the hackers intensified their attack and hijacked the website.

      The website should be up and running today after InfoRelay upgraded the security system.




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