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Hackers Unleash Mafia-Style Extortion Tactics

Scott Heiferman received a disturbing email one recent Thursday morning that he quickly realized would have ripple effects for his company's 16 million users.The author of the message offered to stop a looming cyber attack on social networking site Meetup.com in exchange for $300. Instantaneously, the Meetup.com's servers were bombarded with enormous levels of traffic that brought its services down.Heiferman is among the latest victims of mafia-style extortion tactics increasingly being carried out by sophisticated cyber criminals who conduct DDoS attacks or hold sensitive data hostage until they are paid a ransom that can range between hundreds and millions of dollars."It sounds exactly like something out of the 1920s and the extortion racket. Now it's being played out in cyberspace," said Carl Herberger, vice president of security solutions at Radware (NASDAQ:RDWR).Unlike many victims, Heiferman's company decided not to pay off the hackers, and his site was knocked offline for about ...

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