It sounds like a movie plot, but it's all too real: a group with the handle DD4BC tries to hold corporations hostage, threatening distributed denial-of-service attacks unless it is paid a ransom in bitcoins.

Comprehensive data is hard to come by, but security vendor Akamai Technologies reported a spike in such attacks from April through June before they eased a bit in July. Its rivals Arbor Networks and Verisign have detected similar patterns, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority recently sent warnings to companies to be on guard.

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