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Phish fighters floored by DDoS assault

Botnet hits CastleCops under the belt

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Castlecops, the volunteer security community that runs a well-known phishing website investigation service, has been hit by a denial of service attack.

The latest phase in an ongoing botnet powered onslaught that began on 13 February rendered the site largely inaccessible on Monday (19 February).

By Tuesday, the website returned albeit without the restoration of all its services. "We're under a DDoS, but we will prevail. Good shall overcome," Castlecops's principal Paul Laudanski said on a posting on the site's website.

Founded five years ago, CastleCops is best known for its Phish Incident Reporting and Termination (PIRT) taskforce. Surfers are able to report fraudulent sites to Castlecops volunteers, who investigate these reports. Castlecops volunteers do the leg work and carry out the sometimes tricky process of having bogus sites removed from the internet. The organisation also assists in educating users about malware risks.

The motives of the attack are unclear, though it's reasonable to assume the phishing fraudsters or malware authors, who have most to gain from the inavailability of Castecop's website, are the likely perpetrators.

Castlecops has become the latest target in a string of attacks targeting organisations looking to frustrate the efforts of phishing fraudsters, spammers, or other internet pond life.

Veteran spam fighter Spamhaus suffered a denial of service attack last September, for example, while an attack by a rogue spammer brought down anti-spam firm Blue Security in April 2006.

According to Blue Security, a renegade Russian language speaking spammer known as PharmaMaster succeeded in bribing a staff member at a top-tier ISP into black-holing Blue Security's former IP address at internet backbone routers. ®

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