Hackers Extort Business to Keep Positive Reputation
Do you use Yelp, TripAdvisor, or any other review platform to make decisions on hotels, restaurants, events, etc.?
What if you found out that restaurant or hotel that has a terrible reputation was actually one of the best in the area? You likely wouldn’t believe me because of all the negative things you read online. But, what if those were fake? What if, those were all posted by hackers who were exploiting the business for money.
Sounds surreal, right? But it isn’t. This is actually happening. Recently CheapAir, a travel booking site, was contacted by hackers who threatened to post a plethora of negative reviews unless they paid the hackers approximately $10,000 in bitcoin. Why in bitcoin? Because it is an untraceable digital currency.
No one, businesses included, is ever encouraged to pay the hackers. They are cyber criminals, meaning — there is no guarantee paying them will get you what you want. It may actually place a target on your back for future attacks.
Avoiding Falling Victim
Avoiding these particular scams are trickier than others because the hackers aren’t actually entering your networks. Therefore, they don’t have to search out security vulnerabilities or hope someone will click on a malicious link or attachment. Instead, they simply contact the target saying to pay up, or else.
If contacted by hackers in this form, do not pay. The best thing you can do is make the public aware of what is going on. This way, if they do opt to sabotage company reviews, the public is aware they are fraudulent.
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