Oatmeal Comic Website Caught in Crypto Ransom Crossfire

An anonymous hacker demanded a $300 ransom in Monero to stop a DDOS attack on comic website The Oatmeal.

In yet another sign that the world of crypto is spilling over into the mainstream internet, comic website The Oatmeal was asked for a ransom in Monero (XMR). The Oatmeal was under a DDOS attack for a few hours, with founder Matthew Inman later receiving an email demanding a payment.

The Oatmeal declined to pay, using instead standard DDOS protection.

https://twitter.com/Oatmeal/status/1034970357759762432

The ransom of 3 XMR would amount to about $306 at current prices. But the email also highlighted the fact it may be difficult to acquire cryptocurrencies. Using and sending XMR may present a problem to someone who has never used crypto coins.

The Oatmeal has not been involved in crypto assets before but is one of the comic sites at the edge of current internet culture. Some see the fact that The Oatmeal was inadvertently in touch with a crypto user as a sign the crypto virus is spreading.

But this usage of Monero also falls in the category of using crypto coins to unfair ends. The digital coin has featured in other forms of cryptojacking as well in the form of hidden crypto mining through websites, apps, or even inefficient mining software. The Monero community has fought against the reputation of the asset as a tool for ransomware or illegal transactions. In theory, Monero can be sent anonymously, but part of the anonymity may be lost when using exchanges or services like Changelly, which need to comply with KYC laws.

In the past, Bitcoin was demanded in ransoms related to the WannaCry encryption attack. This time, Inman was advised in the email to go through the Changelly service to acquire XMR.

Beyond his involvement with the Oatmeal comics, Inman has spearheaded a crowdfunding campaign to build a Nikola Tesla museum. But unlike Scott Adams, who recently ran an ICO for his WHEN token, Inman has given no indications of being interested in the crypto sphere.