In addition to the 2017 cyberextortion attacks against Netflix and HBO, there have been other notable instances of cyberextortion.
In 2015, Ashley Madison was attacked by hacktivists calling themselves the Impact Team who announced that they had compromised the database of the cheating website, owned by Avid Life Media, that held the personally identifiable information of 37 million users.
Rather than asking for money, the group threatened to release the information if Avid Life Media (ALM) didn’t permanently close down two of its dating websites as punishment for defrauding its customers. The hackers claimed that ALM didn’t remove the personal information of some customers even though they had paid extra to have that information expunged.
Since ALM didn’t give in to the Impact Team’s demands, the group leaked Ashley Madison customer data.
In 2014, Domino’s Pizza was targeted by the hacker group Rex Mundi, which publicly claimed it had stolen the customer records of 650,000 Domino’s Pizza customers in Europe. Rex Mundi said it had stolen the records from Domino’s website and would release the records if Domino’s didn’t pay it a ransom of €30,000.
Domino’s declined to pay the ransom and instead notified its customers of the breach, noting that the stolen data didn’t contain their financial information, but only contact details, delivery instructions and passwords. Domino’s suggested its customers change their passwords and Rex Mundi never followed through on its threat.
In 2014, hackers hit the RSS feed service provider Feedly with a distributed denial-of-service attack to prevent users from accessing the service. The attackers demanded money, which the company refused to pay.
The company worked with authorities, as well as with other firms hit by attacks from the same group to bring the hackers to justice. Feedly worked with its content network provider and restored service in a couple of hours.