Feeds

Cryptome pulled OFFLINE due to malware infection: Founder cries foul

'Craven and shallow technical justification' for censorship, fumes whistleblower

The essential guide to IT transformation

Updated Whistle-blowing site Cryptome has been left temporarily unavailable after its service provider NetSol stopped routing traffic towards the site following the discovery of a suspect and probably malicious PHP file.

Cryptome's John Young criticised NetSol's decision on to pull the plug on the whistle-blowing site as an overreaction to a minor problem which he claimed had been quickly resolved.

He accused Webcom and Network Solutions of effectively censoring the site "using craven and shallow technical justifications" in a barbed and characteristically combative blog post.

Cryptome sees the Web.com and NetSol suspension of Cryptome.org without prior notice to be as illegal and vicious as an attack by government, corporation, hacker or spy...

Use of technical rationales to unpremeditatedly attack and censor are now commonplace by telecommunications providers... This is an instance of that violation of customer trust.

Young's anger appears focused on NetSol's supposed inability to reactivate the site for up to 48 hours after the removal of the offending file as well as its decision to temporarily suspend Cryptome "without prior notice".

"Nothing was sent before then about the file, that it should be removed or that a suspension would occur," Young blogged. "By time the email was read the site was shut. Immediately after reading the email the PHP file was removed by FTP and a response to NetSol was emailed reporting the removal."

Keeping Cryptome up and running is a fairly thankless task that's regularly fraught with difficulties. Microsoft filed a DMCA notice of copyright violation with NetSol against Cryptome which led to temporary closure back in February 2010. Microsoft withdrew its complaint over the publication of Redmond's spy guide for law enforcement after a campaign by techies.

A few months later a hacker group broke into Cryptome and erased its archive. Fortunately it was possible to rebuild the site from backups.

The planting of malicious code on Cryptome has happened before and had previously been handled by removing the malware without any interruption of service, according to Young.

Cryptome.org remains unavailable at the time of writing on Wednesday afternoon.

Disavowed

NetworkSolutions is owned by web.com. We've put in a query to web.com inviting it to say when Cryptome.org is likely to be restored as well as inviting it to comment of Young's criticism of its actions. We'll update this story as and when we hear back from the internet service firm.

Cryptome has been publishing leaked or otherwise sensitive documents since 1996. The site is particularly interested in material related to freedom of expression, privacy, cryptography, national security and intelligence but is by no means limited to those topics. ®

Update

Since the publication of this story, Web.com has been in touch with a statement. It said:

Network Solutions deactivated Cryptome.org due to security concerns with a potential malware threat. Our top priority is protecting the interest of our customers, and by extension, their customers. We are thoroughly investigating the situation and will have Cryptome.org back up and running as soon as is reasonably possible.

Meanwhile, the whistle-blowing site is saying that it plans to distribute its content in response to the site suspension.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?