DDoS Attacker Arrested in Changhua

first financial holding
First Financial Headquarters. Photo by Solomon203 via Wikimedia Commons

Authorities have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on First Financial Holding (第一金控) on September 21, 2017. Police seized computers and mobile phones during the arrest, Apple Daily reported.

The accused hacker, surnamed Chen, reportedly admitted to committing the DDoS attack against the financial firm from which he demanded a ransom of 50 Bitcoin, which the First Financial paid. The price of Bitcoin at the time was US$3,617.

The financial firm received a message from “F-DaY-Cn” immediately following the attack demanding the 50 Bitcoin ransom to cancel the DDoS attack. The message noted that if the ransom was not paid, the the DDoS attack would spread and crippled the companies network, including securities trading. With no response from the company that evening or the following morning, the cyber attack spread, affecting stock trading and online banking.

Chen allegedly executed similar attacks on other companies, including software companies in Singapore, and collected 100 Bitcoin in ransoms. The current value of the ransom is more than US$1 million.

The Taipei District Prosecutors Office has charged Chen with criminal use of a computer, intimidation, and additional charges that were not mentioned in the report. The Investigation Bureau of New Taipei used information collected from the attack on First Financial to connect Chen to the DDoS attack.

First Financial became a target in July 2016 when hackers broke into First Bank ATMs and stole about US$2 million. There have been additional attacks against various financial firms around Taiwan over the past year as well, with most cyber attackers demanding Bitcoin as payment.

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