Internet Vigilantes Hack and Deface Phishing Sites

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Groups and individuals being dubbed as Internet vigilantes are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to phishers and their phishy sites, and are using their hacking powers for good (they would argue) by hacking into phishing sites and defacing and mutilating them in some fashion so as to make clear that they are not what they purport to be but are, in fact, phishing sites.

One such example is a Paypal clone site, which was hacked and altered by someone calling themselves “sickophish” (get it? Sick o’ phish? Or, perhaps, Sicko Phish – either way it works.) Mr. Phish hacked into the Paypal spoof site, replaced the front page with a page reading “WARNING — THIS WAS A SCAM SITE” and signing off with “site killed courtesy of sickophish.”


Elsewhere, a group calling themselves the Lad Wrecking Crew redecorated a phishing site which spoofed a NatWest Bank site. The Lad Wrecking Crew, or “LWC”, even maintains a [Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead] from which you can download pages to use in your own … uh… redecorating projects.

Noted a statement from security website Netcraft, “Phishing sites are commonly hosted on compromised Web servers, where lack of security allows fraudsters to access machines and upload phishing content. If a fraudster exploits these security weaknesses without securing the machine, then online vigilantes are just as likely to exploit the weaknesses to replace the fraudulent content.” Netcraft added that while the vigilantes’ hacking into a website was questionable, “so far it’s reasonable to assume that only the fraudsters themselves have been disadvantaged.”

Interestingly, several of the pages for download on the LWS site refer to “mugu”, which readers will remember from Aunty’s coverage of the mugu marauder. It is unknown at this time what connection there is, if any.

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The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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2 thoughts on “Internet Vigilantes Hack and Deface Phishing Sites

  1. I say “Right ON!!!” In the history of the world, we have had MANY would-be heroes who had to do bad to bring good. Our lives are full of stories of these heroes … Robin Hood (for one). We know that laws only work for those who live by those laws. If you do not believe in those laws, you have NO trouble breaking them. It stands to reason, that a person/hero MAY have to go above/around/below/side-step a law or two to bring those who do not believe in the laws to justice. Robin Hood had no remorse for bending laws when he knew that it was to bring-down a tyrant; furthermore, he knew his actions would help his fellow citizens. “Please excuse spelling errors.”

  2. Apparently, “mugu” is a Nigerian pidgin term meaning “fool” or “idiot”; it’s often used during the 419 address-scraping phase to indicate to other 419ers that a guestbook has already been scraped for addresses, and other scammers should steer clear.

    it’s been adopted by the anti-419ers as a term for the scammers, too, I think.

    more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_fee_fraud

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