Auction Web site offers $25,000 hacker bounty
News or publicity stunt? You make the call
On-line auction outfit Bidbay is offering a $25,000 bounty for information leading to the conviction of malicious intruders who shut down their operation intermittently for two days starting 7 September, rendering service unavailable to users.
The hacking underground is sure to resent the idea of offering financial incentives to rat on one's buds, but the company is unapologetic. "Our CEO feels that if you start talking to people's pocket books, you're more likely to get a response," Bidbay spokesman Tim Allison told The Register. "He takes it kind of personally when people mess with our site," Allison added.
The company believes it was not the ultimate target in the attack, but rather that the intruders broke in to commandeer Bidbay's gear for attacks on other targets. An aggressive port-scan is what rendered the service unavailable, gobbling up "over ninety megs of bandwidth on one server alone," a member of the engineering crew told us.
The company traced the attack back to a porno site, which it declined to name, which also came under attack; but the use of numerous intermediate machines made it impossible to pinpoint the true origin.
As the trail went cold, Bidbay bit the bullet, passed the hack logs on to the FBI, backed up their data, re-formatted and started fresh.
Perhaps this explains why there is such a modest amount of merchandise offered on the site, and why there should be so little bidding activity. With a few exceptions, categories advertised with fifty items often have one or none, and ones claiming over a hunderd often have ten or twenty. This could be a problem related to the hack, of course.
Another explanation could be that the hacking bounty is a bid for publicity in the guise of news. We don't know, but it wouldn't be the first time such a thing has happened.
Bounty hunters may e-mail Bidbay CEO George Tannous or ring 1-877-424-3229. The company says that all information offered will remain confidential. ®
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