Primedice shifts focus to Russia and China; online extortion of Bitcoins targets Australia and New Zealand

TAGs: Australia, Bitcoin, China, DDoS attacks, NCSC, New Zealand, NZITF, Primedice, Russia, SatoshiBet

Primedice shifts focus to Russia and China; online extortion of Bitcoins targets Australia and New ZealandBitcoin gambling site Primedice is shifting its focus to Russia and China after its decision to block US- and Australia-based customers.

Last week, the company announced that it had stopped serving US and Australia-based customers due to regulatory uncertainty in both countries.

Primedice is now seeking to grow its second and third largest client bases.

“The company was not expecting to come across legal issues in neither Russia nor China,” said a Primedice spokesperson. “We’ve had to give up nearly 50% of our client base but with such an uncertain legal landscape surrounding bitcoin gambling [in the US] we feel this is better off in the long run.”

“Australia only accounted for a little under 5% of our client base so blocking it was an easy decision in terms of mitigating unnecessary risk,” the company added.

In October, SatoshiBet also announced that it would restrict US customers from accessing its gambling platform, citing the uncertain future of online gambling regulation in the US.

Online extortion of Bitcoins threat targets Australian and New Zealand organizations

An unknown group is threatening distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks unless companies in Australia and New Zealand hand over some Bitcoin.

New Zealand’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said that shortly after receiving the group’s extortion email, targeted organizations are then hit with a short-duration DDoS attack, lasting up to an hour to demonstrate the credibility of the threat.

According to the New Zealand Internet Task Force (NZITF), emails received have threatened to take down an organization’s internet links unless substantial payments in Bitcoin are made.

“The networks of at least four New Zealand organizations that NZITF knows of have been affected, so far,” said NZITF Chairman Barry Brailey. “A number of Australian organizations have also been affected.”

The emails contained the following statement:

“Your site is going under attack unless you pay 25 Bitcoin. We are aware that you probably don’t have 25 BTC at the moment, so we are giving you 24 hours.”

The emails also provide links to news articles about other attacks the group has conducted.

NZITF advised the firms not to pay because it makes an organization a likely target for further exploitation.

“Where applicable, temporarily transfer online services to cloud-based hosting providers that have the ability to withstand DoS attacks,” NZITF said. “Use a denial of service mitigation service for the duration of the DoS attack. Disable website functionality or remove content that is being specifically targeted by the DoS attack. For example, search functionality, dynamic content or large files.


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