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Why is Meetup Site Down? Hacker Attempts to Extort $300 From CEO Scott Heiferman

The Meetup site is down after a hacker attempted to extort $300 from the site’s CEO Scott Heiferman. The social networking site was the victim of a DDoS attack that was allegedly paid for by one of Meetup’s competitors.

The attack began on Thursday when CEO Scott Heiferman received an email that reads:

Date: Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 10:26 AM
Subject: DDoS attack, warning

A competitor asked me to perform a DDoS attack on your website. I can stop the attack for $300 USD. Let me know if you are interested in my offer.

As soon as Heiferman received the email, the attack began and overwhelmed Meetup’s servers. The site went down and stayed that way for nearly 24 hours. The success of the site being back up was short-lived as Meetup was hit again and again with numerous DDoS attacks over the course of the weekend.

Why is Meetup Site Down? Hacker Attempts to Extort $300 From CEO Scott Heiferman - photo from Twitter

Why is Meetup Site Down? Hacker Attempts to Extort $300 From CEO Scott Heiferman – photo from Twitter

Stating his reasons for not paying the hacker behind the attack, Heiferman wrote on Meetup’s blog:

We chose not to pay because:

1. We made a decision not to negotiate with criminals.
2. The extortion dollar amount suggests this to be the work of amateurs, but the attack is sophisticated. We believe this lowball amount is a trick to see if we are the kind of target who would pay.  We believe if we pay, the criminals would simply demand much more.
3. Payment could make us (and all well-meaning organizations like us) a target for further extortion demands as word spreads in the criminal world.
4. We are confident we can protect Meetup from this aggressive attack, even if it will take time.

As of right now, the site is still down as the Meetup team continues to secure its servers. When users attempt to log onto the site, they are met with the following error message:

Over the past several days, Meetup has suffered a prolonged denial of service (DDoS) attack, resulting in intermittent service outages for our website and apps. We’re working urgently to bring Meetup back and restore full functionality. We appreciate your patience.

Heiferman encourages all Meetup users to stay informed by receiving updates via Twitter, Facebook or the company’s blog.

Why is Meetup Site Down? Hacker Attempts to Extort $300 From CEO Scott Heiferman.

About Sarah Rasheed

Sarah is a 24-year-old Lead Writer for American Live Wire with a passion for writing on a variety of topics that include politics, world news, health and wellness and technology. When not writing, she enjoys traveling to the Middle East and playing sports. Follow her on twitter @sarahrwan.
  • quadibloc

    The question is: why are DDos attacks even possible? The answer is: popular operating systems still contain vulnerabilities, such as buffer overflows or race conditions. This is no longer acceptable. New laws are needed, to make commercial operating systems liable if they ship defective products, notwithstanding anything they might put in their license agreements.


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