Armada Collective DDoS threats were fake, but still scored thousands of dollars

brian krebs project shield ddosattack
A group of would-be cybercriminals sent empty DDoS attack threats to several sites and online services demanding ransoms to the tune of thousands of dollars.

The group claimed to be the shadowy hacker organization Armada Collective, the same group that allegedly carried out a DDoS campaign on Protonmail last year. However, Cloudflare has called out theses DDoS threats as fake.

“To date, we’ve not seen a single attack launched against a threatened organization,” said CEO Matthew Prince. Cloudflare compared its notes with other DDoS mitigation and security firms, he said, and found the same thing.

While the threats were fake, the extortion was not. Chainanalysis told Cloudflare that it found that many sites did indeed pay up to avoid the perceived threats of a DDoS attack, and the bitcoin address associated with the email threats received up to $100,000 in transactions.

Many of the email threats to services like BlackVPN and SCRYPTmail looked very similar. Prince pointed out that this was one of the flaws in the plan. As the extortion money is demanded in bitcoin, which is for the most part anonymous, there was no way for “Armada Collective” to determine which sites had actually paid and who shouldn’t be DDoS’d.

Coupled with the lack of actual attacks that occurred, Cloudflare deduced that these were all empty threats. Most likely the unknown group was piggy-backing off the reputation that the other Armada Collective had built for carrying out DDoS attacks. That group hasn’t been active since November of last year.

Now that same group of pretenders, according to Cloudflare, has supposedly adopted the mantle of Lizard Squad, another hacker group that was most infamous for attacking PlayStation and Xbox networks.

Cloudflare’s Justin Paine notes that these latest DDoS threats appear very similar and even reuse the same bitcoin address. Once again, no attacks have been recorded.

“Similar to the group claiming to be the ‘Armada Collective’, there is a general consensus within the security community that this group claiming to be the ‘Lizard Squad’ is not in fact actually the group they claim to be,” Paine said. “This is another copycat.”

Emerging Tech

SpaceX experiences problem during test, Crew Dragon capsule may have exploded

SpaceX has experienced a problem during the testing of its Crew Dragon capsule. During the engine test firing at Cape Canaveral yesterday afternoon, an unspecified anomaly occurred which lead to plumes of smoke rising from the test site.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Cars

Carbuying can be tiring: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.
Home Theater

What’s new on Hulu in May 2019, and what’s leaving soon

Our complete list of what's new on Hulu for May 2019, our personal favorites, and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on all the site has to offer -- and ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.
Computing

The number pad on HP’s Chromebook 15 makes spreadsheet work a breeze

HP's Chromebook 15 comes with a 15.6-inch display, a metal keyboard deck with full-size keys, and a dedicated number pad, making it the second Chromebook model, following Acer's Chromebook 715, to be suited for spreadsheet work.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Computing

AMD’s 2020 Ryzen CPUs could have a big boost in power efficiency

The sequel to AMD's Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 CPUs is slated for a 2020 release and when it arrives, could leverage the new Zen 3 architecture to deliver impressive gains to performance and power efficiency.
Computing

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.
Computing

Here's how you can download the best free music players for your Mac

Tired of your Mac's default music player? Take a look at our picks for the best free music players available for your Apple rig. Whether you're a casual listener or an audiophile, you're sure to find something that fits your needs here.
Computing

Want to make calls across the internet for less? Try these great VOIP services

Voice over IP services are getting more and more popular, but there are still a few that stand above the pack. In this guide, we'll give you a few options for the best VOIP services for home and business users.
Gaming

Transform into the ultimate leader with our tips and tricks for Civilization 6

Civilization VI offers both series veterans and total newcomers a lot to chew on from the get-go. Here are some essential starting tips to help you master the game's many intricacies.
Computing

The iPhone’s Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts could land on Macs this year

For its desktop computers, it appears that Apple may continue to draw from the iPhone for inspiration. iOS 12 features, like Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts, are believed to be making their way to MacOS this year at WWDC in June.
Computing

Dell slashes prices of XPS 13 and Alienware 17 laptops in latest promo

Dell's latest promotion will score you big savings on the XPS 13 or the Alienware 17. The stylish XPS 13's discount is for $430, and only the rose gold model is on sale, while gamers who choose the Alienware 17 will save $860.
Computing

Lenovo’s Yoga C930 sale drops a $650 discount on its 2TB SSD laptop

Lenovo is offering one of its 2-in-1 laptops at a $650 discount. This Lenovo Yoga C930 laptop comes with a 2TB solid-state drive, a digital pen, a fingerprint reader, and a Dolby Atmos sound bar.