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Web scam-busting trio thwarted by mystery DDoS rocket

Backhanded compliment for fraud alert sites

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Updated A bunch of anti-scam sites was knocked offline last week by fierce and apparently well-organised distributed denial of service attacks.

The sites - 419eater.com, scamwarners.com and aa419.org (Artists Against 419) - were swamped with junk traffic for several days. During the attack the sites' administrators turned to blogs, Facebook and other alternative channels to distribute news of newly detected fake payment sites and other urgent anti-fraud information.

"These websites and their users provide excellent exposure for online fraud activities and have been responsible for allowing thousands of prospective victims to detect a scam in play, and get out before losses are incurred," an anonymous reader who was among those who told us about the attacks explained. "They also work actively to kill fake bank sites, fake freight forwarding sites and other criminal resources."

419eater.com and scamwarners.com were back operating normally by Monday morning while aa419.org remains sluggish the load.

The identities of the perpetrators is unclear. Scammers angry at the activities of the sites in exposing their swindles are the obvious prime suspects behind the DDoS assaults. One reader suggested that recent publicity against a range of fake Amazon sites might have prompted the attacks, but this remains unconfirmed.

We've contacted the sites concerned and will update this story with more information when El Reg hears more.

An automated message received after we contacted the scam-warners confirmed that a DDoS attack had taken place against the site. "Please note that our forum is currently unavailable due to a DDoS attack," the message said. "We hope to resume normal functioning soon. Meanwhile, we are glad to help via email." ®

Bootnote

ScamWarners.com has been in touch to say the attack started against its last Wednesday and went on for several days, adding that a Russian scammer is suspected as the culprit:

The attack was perpetrated by a scammer who became angry at a topic posted on 419Eater, which exposed his scam. 419Eater.com was first attacked and ScamWarners began to publicise it via Twitter and Facebook. The next day [Thursday], ScamWarners was also attacked. The scammer then sent an email to me, threatening both ScamWarners and 419Eater. We were told to cease exposing their information and reporting their Amazon sites or we would both be eradicated from cyberspace.

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