Social networking site meetup.com was hit by a massive denial-of-service attack after the CEO refused to pay a $300 extortion fee to unknown attackers, according to the company blog.
Meetup co-founder and CEO Scott Heiferman said he received an email warning him that an attack would occur unless Meetup paid the sender $300. The attack started shortly after. The company managed to restore its services temporarily but the attacks then intensified.
No personal data, including credit card information, were accessed during the five days the site has been down.
â€œIf we pay, the criminals would simply demand much more,â€ he said. â€œPayment could make us (and all well-meaning organizations like us) a target for further extortion demands as word spreads in the criminal world.â€
Meetup is working to restore the site and apps, but â€œitâ€™s possible that weâ€™ll face outages in the days ahead,â€ he added.
The incident is the first in the siteâ€™s 12 years of operation. Meetup is a New York-based online social networking site that facilitates offline group meetings in various places around the world. ItÂ has almost 17 million members and up to 20,000 new members signing in daily.