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This concerns me. Greatly.

If you all remember the DDoS attack that happened to Livejournal at the beginning of the month, this is why. What happened, for those that don't click the article, is that Blue Security - a security company - responded to spammers sending out email by sending stop requests... from all 550,000+ members. Some spammers had no choice but to comply.

Not PharmaMaster, which is the pen-name of a Russian spamster. He started sending out spam messages to try to intimidate people into dropping the Blue Security program, and also sent it to others that weren't involved, just for giggles. Then, he launched a DDoS attack against bluesecurity.com, by (according to Register.co.uk) bribing someone at an unnamed ISP to black hole their ISP, denying service to the site for most people. Blue Security managed to divert this by sending the problem to it's TypePad blog. PharmaMaster went Phase 2 at this point, by starting a MASSIVE DDoS attack against TypePad, and it's holding company, Six Apart (which owns Livejournal.com), as well as anyone else having anything to do with Blue Security, including the Toronto based ISP Tucows. The ultimatum was simple: either go out of business, or virus attacks against members was next; he even went as far as to say if he couldn't send spam, "There would be no internet".

Now, BS could have fought back... but it would have become a large scale war, and it could have opened it's paying customers to more attacks. They decided the risk was too great, and that "it's clear to [them] that [quitting] would be the only thing to prevent a full-scale cyber-war that we just don't have the authority to start".

This depresses me for a few reasons. Obviously, the bad guy won here, and that's a bad thing. But the ramifications for this could be great. For one, it shows just how stupid the average user is; personally, if I was a customer of this site, and I knew the battle, and the consequences of losing it, not only would I APPROVE of it, I'd probably donate more to the cause. But most people don't want that; as long as their own personal worlds aren't impacted, they couldn't give a shit. For two... this is going to make spammers and virus makers feel empowered, and we all know what that means: watch your sixxes, everyone, keep your God Damned virus definitions updated. And another thing: the FBI is saying they're "investigating" this. For what? What are they going to do? This is in Russia, where the law enforcement is kinda... well, there is none. What's the FBI going to do? "Um, can we please have PharmaMaster?" "No" ":("

I wish we could fight this battle the way Blue Security was fighting it, and keep it going... but too many chefs are in this pot. And they're not tech-savvy enough to cook it right.

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
dmajohnson
May. 17th, 2006 08:34 pm (UTC)
We're literally looking at organized crime in the twenty-first century. There is some talk that companies like Google or Microsoft could pick up where Blue Security left off. Personally, I think it's just wishful thinking. You're right, it doesn't directly affect the average user, so just the American "mafia" for the majority of the last century, people will turn a blind eye.

The message is clear: Spammers own the internet, and no one's going to say anything about it. The war is over, and what's worse, it was never fought.
sam767
May. 17th, 2006 11:48 pm (UTC)
We're literally looking at organized crime in the twenty-first century.

Please excuse my lack of knowledge on the subject; but what exactly are they getting out of it, though? I mean, spamming isn't like identity theft where they get money...all spammers do is fill one's inbox with nonsense and initiate pop-ups and viruses to harass other people. Once again, I really don't know much about computers, but that's what it seems like to me. ^^;;

BTW, I don't get spam with Gmail. :T *shot*
morinzilion
May. 18th, 2006 01:19 am (UTC)
Spammers can crash servers, and muck up entire systems with spam.

But Spammers CAN also get money, as they are also capbable of more directed attacks. Such as Identity Theft. You need to remember how dumb the average computer user is. :x
superbus
May. 18th, 2006 03:22 am (UTC)
Sam, you have no clue how stupid the average end-user is. Really. It's staggering the lack of basic education these people have.

People make money off of spam because of a few reasons:

1) They can get bank information.

2) They can put a virus on someone's computer, which can either be "extortionware" ("Pay me X amount of money, and I'll remove the encryption on your files"), or something to turn the computer into a "zombie", which is what happened to the computers used in the DDoS attack against Six Apart. That can be used as extortion; "Pay me X amount of dollars, or kiss your site goodbye for awhile".

3) They can sell fake products.

The possibilities are really endless. And there are people stupid enough to fall for this shit.
sam767
May. 18th, 2006 03:33 am (UTC)
Ah, I see. Yeah, people must be pretty stupid to pay some random person sending them an E-mail money. ;_;

Nice icon, BTW.

Possibly offensive to Christians.
samuraiter
May. 17th, 2006 09:14 pm (UTC)
Only telemarketers and Nazis are higher on the list of 'most hated people in the world' than spammers. :-( This is unfortunate.
dmajohnson
May. 17th, 2006 09:23 pm (UTC)
Actually, I'd put spammers several tiers above telemarketers.
superbus
May. 17th, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
Exactly. If you hang up on a telemarketer, they don't threaten to call back every five seconds.
zephyrshakuraus
May. 17th, 2006 09:32 pm (UTC)
DDoS attack?
superbus
May. 17th, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC)
Distributed Denial of Service.

Let's say, just for the sake of this, that your site can handle... oh, 50 users at a time.

A DDoS attack sends 200 compromised users at you per second. You can't do shit, becasue you're way over your bandwidth limit.

It's probably the worst attack, because what people do is use other peoples' computers, most likely virused computers. That means that it's really the fault of the fucking moronic user that keeps opening fucking attachments in email.
zephyrshakuraus
May. 18th, 2006 02:15 am (UTC)
I honestly hadn't noticed anything wrong with LJ. But I'm dense like that.
swordsaint0
May. 17th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
There must be some way to get these bastards in real life, where they can't hide themselves behind their computer skills.
dmajohnson
May. 17th, 2006 11:29 pm (UTC)
My bazooka project is still underway, but so far, nothing. :/
swordsaint0
May. 18th, 2006 01:29 am (UTC)
Maybe somebody could be convinced monetarily to break the hands of offenders.


Or maybe our government can find out the people behind it, have another an "accidental" information leak, and let the crazier anti-spammers take it from there.


XP
gunlord
May. 18th, 2006 12:48 am (UTC)
One man managed to stick it to all of Blue Security? You have to admit, that's kind of impressive...

In any case, though, has anybody tried asking the Russian mob for assistance in finding this guy? The Mafia would probably be able to find him in like 30 seconds in that country. The Russian government can't do crap, the Organistya pretty much runs everything over there.
dmajohnson
May. 18th, 2006 01:35 am (UTC)
In which case, the control of the internet switches hands from spammers to the Russian mafia.
gunlord
May. 18th, 2006 01:55 am (UTC)
If it actually wanted to, it could probably run the Internet anyways.
dmajohnson
May. 18th, 2006 02:48 am (UTC)
Only if people let them. (In other words, yes, it could happen.)
gunlord
May. 18th, 2006 03:39 am (UTC)
Really, would finding out this spammer fag's address, calling up the mob, and asking, "hay, we have some kneecaps for you to smash, will 100 bux be okay? ^_^" be so bad? He'd deserve it, the self-satisfied piece of shit. If only the gulags were still around, sending him to Siberia would be even better...
dmajohnson
May. 18th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
Yes, it would be that bad, because then we depend on organized crime to keep the internet clean, which effectivly hands it to them on a silver platter. "You haven't paid us the $5 billion this month. You want us to catch your spammers? Pay up! Otherwise, a few "missing persons" might return."
gunlord
May. 18th, 2006 02:52 pm (UTC)
How about the gulag idea, then :x
superbus
May. 18th, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC)
Indeed. Using a bigger vice to take out a smaller vice is never a good idea.
dmajohnson
May. 18th, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC)
It's like fighting a kitchen fire with a range of nuclear warheads.
lovelesssakura
May. 18th, 2006 06:49 pm (UTC)
People can be really stupid. Like, I can imagine this guy gets off on spamming, because his e-skills are off the wall :(
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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