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Australia Censorship Crime Security IT

Aussie Blogger Hit With DDoS Death Threats 125

Posted by timothy
from the bad-childhoods-continue dept.
mask.of.sanity writes "An Australian blogger who blew the lid on emerging domain-name fraud campaigns has received death threats from the scammers. His blog and domain parking company are still being hit with a large distributed denial of service attack that has the death threats embedded as HTML links within its logs. Australia's government CERT team and the U.S. Secret Service (blog servers were hosted on U.S. soil) are pursuing the botnet's command and control servers. Ten days later, the victim is still being attacked and is fighting a cat-and-mouse game as IP address ranges change."
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Aussie Blogger Hit With DDoS Death Threats

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  • No, the people doing this are not going to hop on a plane,rent a car and find your house.

    Unless you live in russia, then you better cut that shit out and hide.
    • by SteveTheNewbie (1171139) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @04:14AM (#37361010)

      Sadly, thats incorrect, there are cases where people have been tortured and kidnapped for messing with these criminals

      http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/08/hacker-reported/ [wired.com] is one such case, another i dont have the link for right now involved a reporters daughter being kidnapped, put on drugs and sent to work in a brothel for 5 years. The hacker con ruxcon in Australia had a talk on it last year, no country is safe when dealing with real criminals. They will find and kill you for disrupting their business.

    • True if it's some random guy. But it's quite unsettling if you are threatened by multiple people in an organized way. Even if no real threat exists, it can be damaging psychologically.
      • by PPH (736903)

        But it's quite unsettling if you are threatened by multiple people in an organized way.

        More likely its one scrawny botnet operator who looks like multiple people.

      • by daem0n1x (748565)

        He owns a domain parking company, so he's part of the problem. Domain parking qualifies as "domain-name fraud", it just happens to be legal in many places.

        If you're gonna swim with the sharks, you gotta learn to bite.

    • Except that if you DO live in a country that cares they now have uttering death threats which is a non-cyber crime to get you with. Scams are hard to prosecute... Death threats are easy.. They can tack on the scamming at sentencing as "unrepentant offender".

  • I am confused (Score:4, Informative)

    by bloodhawk (813939) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @01:28AM (#37360494)
    Huh? So now domain name parkers are considered innocent victims rather than the scumbucket profiteers that polute the web and search engines with advertisings and misleading links?
    • "So, naturalists observe, a flea
      Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
      And these have smaller still to bite 'em,
      And so proceed ad infinitum."
      Frankly, in this case, the "scammers" sound like they(by flooding domain park advertisers with false clicks) are making domain park advertising incrementally less attractive, so I find it hard to be too sad to see them. Anybody who collaborates with those scum deserves what they get. However, the botnet herders tend to be the ones cracking machines for their herds, so
      • by Anonymous Coward

        "Thus every slashdot poster, in his kind,
        Is bit by him that comes behind. "

    • Re:I am confused (Score:4, Insightful)

      by North Korea (2457866) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @02:32AM (#37360688)
      There's nothing wrong with domain name parking. If you have no current use for a domain you've paid, you park it. Also, you could use the domain for other purposes than just for web - like email, game servers etc. There's internet out of the web too, you know.
      • by qxcv (2422318)

        I think OP was talking about people who buy domains with the closest Hamming distance to the name of a Fortune 500 company and *intend* to park them (or use them for brand damaging material) until the company in question coughs up with a few grand to buy the domain off the parkers.

        • by julesh (229690)

          Maybe, but I don't think that's what the person who's the subject of the story does, so if that's what he thought was meant, he misunderstood. The subject of the article appears to offer domain registration services to third parties, along with a system for managing adverts placed on the domains prior to web sites going live.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by bloodhawk (813939)

            Maybe, but I don't think that's what the person who's the subject of the story does, so if that's what he thought was meant, he misunderstood. The subject of the article appears to offer domain registration services to third parties, along with a system for managing adverts placed on the domains prior to web sites going live.

            Actually that is EXACTLY what the subject of the story "Michael Gilmour" does. What he does may be legal but I would rank him slightly above sewer scum. He buys up domains and parks advertising on them to milk money from unsuspecting search results and mistyped domain names.

            • Well at least he's not collecting all their mis-addressed email...

            • That's incorrect and overly inflammatory. Parklogic serves as a middleman between advertiser feeds and domain owners who wish to display a parked page. He may also own domain names but his company serves as a parking platform beyond any of those personal domains.

              They maintain the server infrastructure, negotiate contracts with advertiser feeds from Google, Yahoo, etc. Same with Whypark, Sedo and many others. As a matter of fact, Google offers the exact same service if you're willing to use their DNS.

              Als

              • by WNight (23683)

                btw, domains are considered property

                And World of Warcraft magic swords aren't.. Hilarious. Both are lines of nothing in a database.

                You may disagree that the owner of "cellphones.com" should profit from the domain

                Of course I do. They're a useless leech on the system. If not for a court turning that into "property" it'd just be data in a DB and the community would point it where the community wanted.

                The reason we think (in general) that property owners should be able to rent property is that it usually wouldn't be there (a house), or developed (a piece of property with access and sewer/power), etc. Simply giving the public

                • Sounds like you're unhappy about the situation. Out here in the real world it's called capitalism.

                  And I'd bet the you'd feel much differently if you owned a multi-million dollar domain like beautiful.com. But you can't because P&G registered it back in 1995 and has been using a worthless redirect on it ever since then. Since they're hurting society by hogging the domain, maybe if you ask nicely they'll transfer it to you at no charge?

                  Btw there's actually a phrase for what you're feeling: "domain env

                  • by WNight (23683)

                    Btw there's actually a phrase for what you're feeling: "domain envy". It's no different than those that lament not buying MSFT back in the early '90s.

                    I (may) lament my lack of money but not my unwillingness to mug a senior citizen for it. I don't envy the killers.

                    You're using domain envy a little too loosely here. Under your usage a rape counselor would have domain envy towards rapists.

                    And I'd bet the you'd feel much differently if you owned a multi-million dollar domain like beautiful.com.

                    Ahhh, the "You can't prove you wouldn't do it so it's unjust to punish anyone for it" argument. Weak.

                    But no, I wouldn't want them, or me, to be punished. I'd want it taken away and allocated in a way that best matches what the public wants to find when they type "beautiful

              • by bloodhawk (813939)
                You are incorrect, their primary business is BUYING up domains to park them, he OWNS hundreds of thousands of them, he has even stated publically he does this as "its better than realestate". He may also act as a middle man, but primarily he is a leech on the system that steals time from users with misleading links and search results. Even those that are using him as a middle man are hardly better,If you want to park a domain then park it, don't screw internet users over with garbage just to feather your po
                • 1) Parked domains rarely show up in indexes. Google filters them heavily. The only way to get to one is through direct navigation. Like if someone wants to buy car parts, they type in "carparts.com". Then they click a link and get the result they were looking for. There's no "harm" or "screwing" involved unless the click was fraudulent. The domain owner has no control over that unless they're stupid enough to click it themselves. Then they get caught, have their parking account banned and the payment

              • by Kalriath (849904)

                Same with Whypark, Sedo and many others.

                As it happens, I do think all of those companies are pond scum offering a dubious service which exists solely to rip people off. Despite my objections, my employer just paid £800 to some scumbag via Sedo for a domain - specifically the company name! - that costed $30 to register.

                • The seller offered it for sale, your employer wanted it and obviously thought the price was fair enough. So they bought it. The profit margin is of no significance, only that the buyer and seller got what they wanted.

                  No different than any other transaction of goods or services in a capitalistic scenario.

                  • by Kalriath (849904)

                    No, they didn't think the price was fair enough. What they thought was that the pond scum had them over a barrel.

                    So, which "domainer" do you work for?

                    • Then that's simply buyer's remorse, same as overpaying for any product or service and regretting it later. Which is tough luck to them, they should have negotiated better or just picked one of the other 100 TLDs. Having said that, $1200 isn't unreasonable and is below par with average domain sales these days listed at dnjournal.com.

                      What you're really implying is that it was extortion which would be criminal. It's not, they could have simply registered the domain before the seller did.

                      So whether you perso

      • by AftanGustur (7715)

        There's nothing wrong with domain name parking.

        "Domain parking", usually means tapping into search results of the big search engines and feeding people advertisements in place of the actual content they were looking for. This may be legal, but that doesn't make it "right".

        In addition, people like Michael Gilmour get away with paying only a few cents for each domain and then buy them in the thousands when people forget to renew or let them expire, hoping to sell them back with a hefty profit.

        Michael Gilmour is not giving people any more service t

        • In addition, people like Michael Gilmour get away with paying only a few cents for each domain and then buy them in the thousands when people forget to renew or let them expire, hoping to sell them back with a hefty profit.

          And how does he do that?

          • by AftanGustur (7715)

            In addition, people like Michael Gilmour get away with paying only a few cents for each domain and then buy them in the thousands when people forget to renew or let them expire, hoping to sell them back with a hefty profit.

            And how does he do that?

            He has a company that is listed as a "domain reseller" or a registrar, so he only has to pay the yearly fee to the top-level domain management, which is, for example, about USD 20 cents for .com domains.

            • There's quite large annual fees on top of that, though. And he won't get those prices unless he is actually registered registrar directly at ICANN. If he's just reselling, then it's close to the actual prices (at least $6-7 per domain).
              • by AftanGustur (7715)

                There's quite large annual fees on top of that, though. And he won't get those prices unless he is actually registered registrar directly at ICANN. If he's just reselling, then it's close to the actual prices (at least $6-7 per domain).

                From Here [icannwiki.com]

                Michael is the CEO of Simcast Media, an online platform built for a company's clients and their customers. Customers find more information about the companies they're interested in. Simcast is an accredited registrar of ICANN. .

            • by Dan541 (1032000)

              Wow, thanks for showing that you don't have a clue what you're talking about. Last I checked Verisign charged $7.34 per domain then there's the $0.18 ICANN fee. So that's $7.52 before the registrar even takes their own cut, and they too need to cover operating costs.

              The costs are many orders of magnitude higher than the 20 cents that you claim.

              • by AftanGustur (7715)

                Wow, thanks for showing that you don't have a clue what you're talking about. Last I checked Verisign charged $7.34 per domain then there's the $0.18 ICANN fee. So that's $7.52 before the registrar even takes their own cut, and they too need to cover operating costs.

                The costs are many orders of magnitude higher than the 20 cents that you claim.

                Verisign is a registrar, Michael Gilmour's company is also a registrar, they both only pay 18 cents to ICANN per domain, get it ?

                • No, Verisign is the operator of both .com and .net TLD's. All registrars pay to Verisign and ICANN for .com and .net domains.
                • There is a huge difference between a "registrar" and "registry". If a registrar charges $9 for a domain registration, they pay around $7.50 to the registry (Verisign) and ICANN. The $1.50 is the registrar's profit, no more. The $7.50 is used by the registry to maintain infrastructure for DNS, etc. So there is no way for a registrar to register a domain for 20 cents.

                  What you may be thinking of is "tasting". In that case the domain could be "returned" for a small fee after parking for a week or so. But

                • by gpuk (712102)

                  As North Korea says, you are mistaken.

                • by Dan541 (1032000)

                  No, Verisign is the .com registry operator.
                  All registrars must pay $7.34 to verisign for every domain they register and an $0.18 fee to ICANN.

                  You clearly don't know what you're talking about. Do your homework then come back and tell me he only pays "20 cents" per domain.

        • by Dan541 (1032000)

          Domains are like real estate. You can buy them cheaply and sell them for inflated price later on.

          What's wrong with that?

          • by AftanGustur (7715)

            Domains are like real estate. You can buy them cheaply and sell them for inflated price later on.

            What's wrong with that?

            Like when you buy up all the concert tickets for a show?

            • by Dan541 (1032000)

              Domains are like real estate. You can buy them cheaply and sell them for inflated price later on.

              What's wrong with that?

              Like when you buy up all the concert tickets for a show?

              Why not?
              People can buy as many tickets to the show as they like. I've purchased dozens of tickets to events, there's nothing wrong with purchasing things (that's the point of selling them). The transaction concerns only the parties involved, and no one else.

              • by Anonymous Coward

                Why not? People can buy as many tickets to the show as they like. I've purchased dozens of tickets to events, there's nothing wrong with purchasing things (that's the point of selling them). The transaction concerns only the parties involved, and no one else.

                There is nothing wrong with being a parasite, after all they existed before humans did.
                Yeah, I'm getting off your lawn right now.

              • by bloodhawk (813939)
                in many countries buying up tickets to resell them is actually illegal now. There is a lot wrong with it morally as well, it is pure profiteering that does nothing more than fleece people of additional money, they are not providing a service, they are taking advantage of holes in the system by effecting preventing legitimate buyers buying from source and artificially inflating prices..
                • by Dan541 (1032000)

                  In Australia most event organisers will limit you to 10 or less tickets per transaction. The way to stop people getting around the restriction is to have a Terms & Conditions of sale. People who violate the terms can have a civil suit brought against them.

                  However going back to domains. There are no longer any restrictions on TLD registrations. Is it moral to register domains for investment? I would say, yes as it's just like buying real estate for investment. People don't seem to question the morality o

            • If you can make a profit by buying all the concert tickets and reselling them, then the original promoters failed by not setting the price correctly.

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward

                Wrong. Not everyone seeks to gouge the shit out of everyone else. How sad that the epitaph on the tombstone of our society will be "Well, at least they made a profit". Pathetic.

                • Well by all means, tell us how you would define the fairest price for concert tickets.

                  My definition is "the price at which all the seats are sold and no one who wants a seat couldn't get one."

                  • by innerweb (721995)
                    But that does not necessarily maximize profit for the selling venue, and for business, maximizing profit is an important consideration. In fact, it has been proven that selling all seats is a pretty strong indicator that the tickets were under priced. So, the question then becomes fair for who?
            • by gpuk (712102)

              In the UK at least I believe there are anti-ticket taut regulations to try and stop exactly that.

          • To be the same, imagine that your house ownership expires. You might get notice that this is about to happen, but the notice looks like junk mail and might not even arrive. Fake notices are sent all the time by scammers wanting to fool you into paying the wrong person. If you are on vacation or otherwise miss the legit notice, you might not pay in time. Your house is then quietly reposessed by the local authorities. Some jerk at the courthouse buys the house instantly. (he always does this) You find yoursel

            • by Dan541 (1032000)

              By allowing a domain to expire you relinquish your owner ship of it. Just about every domain I have ever let expire has been registered the instant it dropped. There is nothing wrong with this because I let the domains expire. If someone else wants to register them; they have every right to do so. Domains need to expire, otherwise we would have an exponential growth of dead/abandoned domains that could never be recovered and no revenue stream to maintain their infrastructure. Currently between 60,000 and 70

      • by bloodhawk (813939)

        There's nothing wrong with domain name parking. If you have no current use for a domain you've paid, you park it. Also, you could use the domain for other purposes than just for web - like email, game servers etc. There's internet out of the web too, you know.

        He is not that sort of domain parker. He is someone that buys up domain names for generic terms and mistyped domain names and parks the domain with advertising to get ad traffic from searches and mispellings.

      • by daem0n1x (748565)
        Wow, I'm soooo sure a vast majority of the poor innocent domain parkers fall into these extremely specific cases you just described. Oh, the poor innocent domain parkers, being persecuted by shameless Internet crooks. I'm soooo sad.
  • Why is the United States Secret Service involved? From what I remember, the USSS is involved in matters of dignitary protection and anti-counterfeiting operations. Are the scammers involved in either of these?
  • I thought death threats were just what happens to anyone who becomes remotely famous.
  • It's the Cheese. The evil cheese...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    RTFA this wasn't simply some upset asshole in the Ukraine sending death threats, this was a pump and dump scam being uncovered, where they send a buttload of fake traffic to view the ads, and then run off.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @02:47AM (#37360722)
    If they can sue based on IP, why can't they get the names and addresses of everyone involved?

    There's only one thing that will end this. Find every IP launching the attack and prosecute them for hacking, even if all they did was own an insecure system. You have to push the responsibility back on the people allowing the attacks. It's illegal to leave your car running attended because it's an attractive nuisance.
    • by julesh (229690) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @03:17AM (#37360812)

      If they can sue based on IP, why can't they get the names and addresses of everyone involved?

      FTFA:

      Scammers would change their origin of attack to evade blocking and Gilmour would respond in kind.

      In the last hour, the attacks have moved to Indonesia where some 28,000 unique IP addresses are attacking his sites every few minutes.

      So you're suggesting he sues 28,000 indonesians? And then when the botnet operator switches to a different IP range, another few thousand people of some other nationality. And then another, and another. And you think that's going to work because...?

      It's illegal to leave your car running attended because it's an attractive nuisance.

      Maybe where you live it is. I can assure you it isn't where I am. Which is the problem: laws work differently in different countries. Sometimes even in different regions of the same country. The Internet is international. Even if some jurisdictions have laws that you can use against attacks like this, not all do. And that just means the attackers will end up working from those that don't.

      • by AK Marc (707885)

        So you're suggesting he sues 28,000 indonesians? And then when the botnet operator switches to a different IP range, another few thousand people of some other nationality. And then another, and another. And you think that's going to work because...?

        I'm suggesting that the ISP in Indonesia disconnect those 28,000 IPs for criminal activity, check them for viruses and turn them back on after they are clean, billing those 28,000 criminals for cleaning up their illegal activities.

        It'll work because when people realize their criminal negligence of having an insecure system attached to a network will result in something other than a slower computer, they'll take the bare minimum of security steps, making the world a better place. Why do you hate the world

    • by Xugumad (39311)

      > Find every IP launching the attack and prosecute them for hacking, even if all they did was own an insecure system.

      Even if they get hit by a 0-day attack?

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        As another respondent mentioned, if they are using "old" versions when the current ones are secure, it's still negligence. If they are on the current version and it's compromised, then prosecute the maker of the software.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      that approach is simply not practical.
      never met the polish irc gangs?

      and no, they aren't good enough.

      the guy should just use cloudflare I suppose. but there's the streisand effect now for his blog post.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    These IP addresses that are now logged to have attacked this site's blog, might also have been used for clicking these ads. If these addresses are given to the advertising companies I see at least to possible steps to take:
    1) Block the IP addresses from generating ad-revenue. This should save them *some* money.
    2) Find out which ads has been vigorously "clicked" from these IP addresses and find out which company that gets paid for it. That would probably be a good starting point for an investigation.

  • Would be a great time for a vacation.

  • The guy has half a million domains that he's squatting on. Why is he described as "a blogger"?

    Park Logic was Gilmourâ(TM)s domain parking company that hosted half a million domain names.

    He wrote some blog posts about other domain scammers, and they're retaliating. Awwww .... nothing to see here, folks ....

  • Absent from the article is a key question - how does either the "domainer" or the scammer make money? Pumping fake traffic through fake domains is usually monetized through Google AdSense.

    • Let's say you own "redcars.com" and have it parked with Google, Parklogic or other parking service. The PPC ads shown on the site are from Google or Yahoo ad feeds that were negotiated by the parking company. You get a portion of the revenue generated when a legitimate click occurs, the parking company gets some and the feed provider keeps the rest. If using Adsense for Domains then Google keeps the latter two cuts.

      The scammers will offer you $1000 for your account at the parking company. You agree, tak

  • I know Michael personally, have read his blog for a couple years, and am familiar with his meta-parking service.

    He's definitely one of the parking industry's most stand up guys. He's not a domain scammer, nor anything close to that. Advertisers love his service because he cuts off anyone with bad traffic. Now he's exposing the seedy underbelly of the parking industry... which of course seems to have pissed off some people.

    The scammers make money by pounding advertisers' PPC links on parked pages and gett

    • by BillX (307153)

      Have to say, I don't think this guy will get much sympathy on /., even if he is exposing a whole different level of scum among scummers. There is, by definition, no such thing as legitimate traffic to a parked domain. Nobody wants to go there.

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