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Cancelbots in the news

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>   Centura
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>      Copyright &copy 1996 Nando.net
>      Copyright &copy 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
>   groups.
>   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 &copy 1996 Nando.net