By James Fontanella in London
January 18 2006
The FBI is investigating the hijacking of milliondollar-homepage.com -
the website that earned $1m (=A3566,000) for its British creator Alex
Tew by hosting micro-advertisements - by hackers who demanded a ransom
to restore the site.
Mr Tew was sent a demand for $50,000 by e-mail by a hacker, believed
to be Russian. When he refused, the website crashed.
The e-mail, which was made available exclusively to the Financial
Times, read: "Hello u website is under us atack to stop the DDoS send
Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant, said: "DDoS
(Distributed Denial of Service) attack is a common way to block
internet users accessing a site by flooding the website with traffic.
"In August 2005 a US teenager was sentenced to five years juvenile
detention for launching DDoS attacks against online sportswear
retailers costing the company over $1.5m."
Several gambling websites, as well as companies such as Microsoft,
Ebay, Yahoo and CNN have also been victims of such attacks.
Mr Tew first received a threat on January 7 from a body calling itself
The Dark Group, demanding $5,000.
He thought the blackmail was a hoax and took little notice.
However, on Friday, Russell Weiss, president of InfoRelay,the internet
server ofmilliondollarhomepage.com, told Mr Tew that the website was
experiencing very high traffic and there was a risk that it could
On Wednesday when Mr Tew sold the final 1000 pixels on his site for
$38,100 on Ebay, reaching his goal of earning $1m, the hackers
intensified their attack and hijacked the website.
The website should be up and running today after InfoRelay upgraded
the security system.
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