Blackmail DDOS Attack Takes Out Major Online Chat Service

The popular group chat system Campfire is currently being nailed with a DDoS attack. Turns out some blackmailing hackers are trying to extort money from the provider. They're refusing to negotiate.

37Signals, the company behind Campfire, Basecamp and other products posted the following to its blog:

Criminals have laid siege to our networks using what's called a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) starting at 8:46 central time, March 24 2014. The goal is to make Basecamp, and the rest of our services, unavailable by flooding the network with bogus requests, so nothing legitimate can come through. This attack was launched together with a blackmail attempt that sought to have us pay to avoid this assault.

For those of you that don't know, a distributed denial of service attack basically sends loads upon loads of bogus requests to servers, choking them with traffic so that the real requests can't get through.

These types of extortion attempts are quite common, and you don't hear about them more often because plenty of companies choose to just pony up to avoid the service interruption. Just a few weeks ago, Meetup was hit with a similar attack after refusing to pay hackers not to get hacked.

If you use 37Signals products, you can expect things to be a little spotty for the forseeable future. We use Campfire here at Giz and it has been too finicky to use. Updates are getting posted to the 37Signals Twitter. We'll update as we learn more.