Ransom Demands Rock Email Providers Zoho, ProtonMail Hushmail, FastMail And More

The International Business Times reported this week that a series of email service providers had experienced outages and random demands on the back of a concerted DDoS attack by a group called Armada Collective.

It is reported that the attacks follow on from a series of attacks on a wide range of institutions, including some Thai banks. Hushmail is reported to have paid a ransom demand of 20 bitcoin (about $6,000) but the attacks were not stopped. Perhaps unsurprisingly the other providers have opted to avoid paying the ransom which has resulted in some outages for their services.

Zoho changed IP addresses for some of their servers this week and wrote to customers advising them to make sure they didn’t have any legacy settings.

Vendors will sometimes change IP addresses for number of valid reasons. One of them is security so that specific IP addresses do not become targets for cyber criminals. When IP addresses change, your MX record will point to a nonexistent server and your mail will no longer work.

Zoho changed its IP addresses this week and this could be impacting your email, if your MX records were wrongly set up.

At the time of writing they have not notified customers of the DDoS attacks directly, although it can be assumed that the addition of new servers and IP addresses is in response to the risk of downtime the attacks are posing.

TechFunction reached out to Marco Essomba of AMPS International, a global IT security and infrastructure consultancy, who commented that attacks like this are likely to remain a key concern for service providers.

All enterprises with an Internet presence should worry about Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) – some more than others. It is a fact of life that the Internet brings all sorts of benefits to organisations but also a huge amount of risks. DDoS should be at the top of the list of any company with business critical applications facing the Internet. Several major firms have been hit by large scale DDoS attacks in the past weeks, including Runbox, Zoho, Hushmail and ProtonMail. With cyber-crime fast increasing and costing the global economy approximately $445 billion a year (Source: Net Security) this is a lucrative business. Gartner’s forecast that DDoS will continue to be a major issue for Internet facing infrastructures in the near and long term future so businesses should plan ahead and strengthen their current IT infrastructure to fight against DDoS.

DDoS attacks, or Distributed Denial of Service, occur when a group uses extremely high amounts of bandwidth from a wide network of controlled machines to overflow the target site. Because of the distributed nature of the attacks, they can be very difficult to counter.

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Author: Steve Brownlie

Steve loves helping businesses grow and receive the press exposure they deserve. He does that every day as the lead consultant at palladous. He can be reached on Twitter.

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