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'America's Most Wanted' site said DoS'ed after cyber-crime broadcast

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

America's Most Wanted host John Walsh urged his viewers on Saturday night to help "take down" those responsible for the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks which briefly crippled numerous high-profile Web sites back in February.

The low-brow crime-busters show from Fox Television draws a large audience with its melodramatic and bloody crime re-enactments and psychobabbling criminal profiles. Walsh has even taken to the gimmick of introducing segments from within a moving helicopter to cultivate the illusion of his immediate response to the pleas of frustrated policemen throughout the nation.

This weekend's show included a typically overblown segment on cyber terrorism, during which Walsh fretted about fifteen-year-old DDoS suspect Mafiaboy while treating viewers to images of violently flattened buildings and a tank firing its gun in a (presumably Middle-Eastern) desert.

"Tonight let's take down some cyber terrorists," Walsh urged, and gave an account of the devastating ruin caused by the DDoS attacks.

The show's viewers are constantly reminded to rat on their neighbours by phoning tips via a toll-free line. "The FBI believes the [DDoS] hackers are bragging in chat rooms, so the same tool they use to attack may be the key to catching them," Walsh said.

The Register was not aware that IRC and Instant Messenger have the potential to launch retaliatory DDoS attacks. We learn something new every day.

Walsh also interviewed FBI Director Louis Freeh, who struggled visibly to maintain an air of dignity in spite of the situation, and NIPC Director Michel Vatis, whose demeanour towards Walsh was a good deal more indulgent and affable. Both men repeated their core messages regarding the devastating potential of cyber crime, which we have reported ad nauseum, so we'll just spare our readers another re-hash today.

Most interestingly, an AMW spokesman interviewed by SecurityFocus.com said that the show's Web site went off-line following the broadcast, though he couldn't explain why. "Maybe those hackers decided to punish us," he is quoted as saying.

Of course it could be a coincidence, but if not it will undoubtedly convince the programme's producers that malicious Script Kiddies really are in a league with Timothy McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden, a conviction towards which they already show strong inclinations. ®

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