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Popular webcomic The Oatmeal caught in ransomware-cryptocurrency attack

The Oatmeal, a humor website, recently fell victim to crypto-ransomware. The popular internet comic run by Matthew Inman was shut down for a few hours in late August 2018 because of crypto-ransomware coupled with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

What is a crypto-ransomware attack?

In crypto-ransomware attacks, hackers encrypt a computer's files and then demand money in cryptocurrency to release the decryption key. In The Oatmeal's case, the site was also hit with a DDoS attack, which floods network resources with traffic to prevent legitimate users from accessing them.

The unknown hacker demanded a $300 ransom paid out in Monero (XMR)—a cryptocurrency—to stop the DDoS attack. Monero is the cryptocurrency preferred by hackers due to its anonymous nature. Inman did not pay the ransom, choosing instead to use a DDoS security protocol and add a firewall layer.

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