You have to admire the balls of a group of German hackers who dub themselves XMR Squad.
The outfit spent all last week launching DDoS attacks against German businesses and then contacting the same companies to inform them they had to pay $275 for ‘testing their DDoS protection systems.
Attacks were reported against DHL, Hermes, AldiTalk, Freenet, Snipes.com, the State Bureau of Investigation Lower Saxony, and the website of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The attack against DHL Germany was particularly effective as it shut down the company’s business customer portal and all APIs, prompting eBay Germany to issue an alert regarding possible issues with packages sent via DHL.
While the group advertised on Twitter that its location was in Russia, a German reporter who spoke with the group via telephone said: “The caller had a slight accent, but spoke perfect German.”
Following the attention it got in Germany after the attacks, the group had its website and Twitter account taken down.
Hackers mocked the group for failing to extract any payments from their targets. DDoS extortionists have been particularly active in Germany, among any other countries. Previously, groups named Stealth Ravens and Kadyrovtsy have also extorted German companies, using the same tactics perfected by groups like DD4BC and Armada Collective.
Dutch chipmaking equipment outfit ASML has agreed to buy Taiwanese peer Hermes Microvision (HMI) for about $3.1 billion.
The move will strengthen the pair’s technology offering for semiconductor manufacturers and is one of the biggest inbound acquisitions for Taiwan,.
It is the latest consolidation in a global semiconductor industry faced with an increasingly saturated smartphone market.
ASML is the world’s biggest chipmaking equipment supplier, with customers including TSMC, Intel and Samsung. HMI’s technology is used to scan and test for wafer defects in the semiconductor manufacturing process.
Both companies, which already work together, will be able to share research, development and intellectual property under one roof, analysts said, which is key as their customers migrate toward ever smaller and more advanced manufacturing processes.
ASML Chief Executive Peter Wenninck said in a video posted on the company’s website explaining the deal’s rationale. “The times of point solutions are gone. We need integrated solutions.”
ASML’s acquisition of HMI will be part-funded by about $1.69 billion of debt and all the i’s will be dotted and the t’s crossed by the fourth quarter.