Blackmail/Extortion - Computer Definition
A criminal act that involves malicious threats intended to cause injury to an individual to compel him or her to do an act against his or her will. Blackmail or extortion often involves a threat to spread information about the target that will defame his or her reputation or bring criminal actions against him or her unless some amount of money is paid to the individual making the threats.
Criminals are increasingly targeting companies’ computers with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, not just to reduce revenues but also to extort money—and companies are likely not to report the losses. According to MCI Inc. and the FBI, the culprits are often cybercriminals residing outside U.S. legal jurisdictions. Anti-Distributed Denial of Service attack services cost about $12,000 a month and are available from companies such as AT&T and MCI Inc.. The most popular tools used are Cisco System Inc.’s Riverhead gear and Arbor Networks Inc.’s intrusion-detection tools—able to filter about 99% of the attack traffic.
Though most companies conveniently stay quiet and pay the ransom to offshore banks, one company fought back. Authorize.Net refused to pay cyber extortionists. Instead, the company reported the incident to the police, went public about the attacks—apologizing to clients for the delays in service—and installed anti-DDos equipment.
Messmer, E. Extortion Via DDos On the Rise. [Online, May 16, 2005.] ComputerWorld Inc. Website. http://www.computerworld.com/networkingtopics/networking/ story/0,10801,101761,00.html; The ’Lectric Law Library. The ’Lectric Law Library’s Lexicon On Blackmail. [Online, July 15, 2004.] The ’Lectric Law Library Website. http://www.lectlaw.com/ def/b105.htm. 2004.