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Cancelbots in the news
> HATE HACKERS: KILLING DIALOGUE ON THE INTERNET
> Copyright © 1996 Nando.net
> Copyright © 1996 San Francisco Examiner
Note the usual misuse of the term "hacker."
> (Sep 28, 1996 02:18 a.m. EDT) -- One or more hackers using racist and
> other hate terms have erased tens of thousands of messages used by a
> wide variety of political discussion groups on the Internet, exposing
> new concerns about the security of the worldwide computer system.
> At least one Internet customer -- in Oklahoma -- has been blamed for
> some of the more than 30,000 killed messages and has been cut off by
> his service provider.
> "Obviously, the individual responsible is no longer around here," said
> William Brunton, president of Internet Connection of Tulsa, one of
> several service providers of Usenet news groups that were victimized
> during the weekend. "You can be assured it's not going to happen again
> from here."
The author really doesn't understand USENET, does he (or she)?
Evidently, one of the persons posting the cancels was doing so out of this
> He said he had turned information over to federal authorities and
> could not comment further.
> In Washington, D.C., an FBI spokesman declined to confirm whether the
> matter was being investigated although it was unclear what, if any,
> laws may have been violated.
> The messages were deleted from system discussion sites used by gays,
> Jewish groups, Muslims, feminists and other politically oriented
> The perpetrator or perpetrators used so-called "cancelbot" software
> programs labeled with such phrases as "fagcancel" and "kikecancel."
> Besides Brunton's small Oklahoma firm, Internet service providers
> whose discussion groups were victimized included industry giants
> Netcom Inc. of San Jose, and UU Net Technologies of Falls Church, Va.
> Officials of those firms were not available for comment.
And operating out of these? Or is it simply that the groups in
question are carried by these firms?
> While some believed such attacks pose a serious threat to the sanctity
> of the Internet -- which is virtually unregulated save for a generally
> adhered-to protocol known as "netiquette" -- others were less alarmed.
Usual mixup between USENET and the Internet, of course.
> "There actually are no laws against that sort of thing," said Jonah
> Seiger, policy analyst for the Center for Democracy and Technology in
> Washington, D.C. "Obviously, it's sort of annoying."
> He said a cancelbot, or a forged cancel message, is "a malicious
> vehicle and not good netiquette."
> Two years ago, when some immigration lawyers "spammed the net" --
> electronically plastering news groups throughout the Internet with a
> single message, an advertisement telling how to get a green card --
> "it was the first time someone figured out you could cancel those
> messages," Seiger said.
> Since then, phony cancelbots have appeared with some frequency. In one
> of the better-known cases, the Church of Scientology used cancelbots
> to erase messages from news groups used by some of its members with
> whom the church was engaged in a legal battle.
> The security of the Internet has also been brought into question
> recently after hackers altered home pages operated by the CIA and the
> Justice Department.
> Copyright © 1996 Nando.net