Mugu Marauder Spokesperson Takes Aunty to Task

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Yesterday Aunty wrote to tell you about the Mugu Marauder, a new “art project” by an organization calling themselves “Artists Against 419”. The project has participants link to images from 419 scammer’s websites and display them on the participant’s own website, causing the displayed images to eat into the scammer’s bandwidth. Aunty advised her readers not to participate, because of the questionable legality of intentionally taking bandwidth from, and ultimately knocking down, even a scammer’s website.

Well, not more than six hours after Aunty posted her advisory about the Artists Against 419’s Mugu Marauder program, Lord Vader, a spokesperson for the organization (and, he claims, for the South African Police Services), responded to Aunty’s article, taking her to task.

“Another completely uninformed comment from a know-all“, said Vader.


He then explains that “We are taking a proactive stance. If you would have looked closely at what the motto of this 419 FlashMob by the Artists was, you would have seen that our main targets were all on th [sic] Spam Heaven [sic] servers with chinese hosts. The ones that most spam originates from nowadays and you know full well that these hosters have exactly one person taking care of the “abuse@” mailbox and their job is to move the content of the inbox to /dev/null.”

To Aunty’s comment that “Somebody has to pay for the Bandwidth”, Lord Vader replies:

“Correct. The hosters and the scammers. We never attack a website without informing the hoster at least TWICE, so the claim that they host criminals unknowingly is invalid.”

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He then goes on to say that “What you advised people “not to do” has killed off 5 fake banks in the past 24 hours and still continues to kill them off.”

Actually, Lord Vader, what Aunty has advised people not to do is to take part in an activity which, in her professional legal opinion, would, here in the country in which Aunty writes, resides, and practices, and in which the vast majority of her readers reside, cause them to end up on the wrong side of the law, facing court judgments of far greater amounts than the amount of money which anybody who has been around the Internet long enough is likely to lose to a 419 scammer.

Aunty’s readers who have basic reading comprehension skills will note that at no time did Aunty dismiss the “project” as being ineffective – only legally risky and stupid.

 

So yes, Aunty, who despite your accusation of being a “know-all”, actually does have perhaps a smidgeon of professional expertise in this area, repeats that her readers should not take part in the Mugu Marauder project, as it is entirely possible that they will find they are breaking the law. Here in the United States, contrary to what some believe, self defense does not excuse taking illegal action oneself.

But Aunty’s concern is with the Mugu Marauder project itself, not you, so don’t take it personally, Lord Vader.

You are not my fodder.

Kissy kissy,

Aunty

P.S. Readers who would like to read Lord Vader’s entire comment can read it here.

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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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7 thoughts on “Mugu Marauder Spokesperson Takes Aunty to Task

  1. This is crazy! I completely agree with Vader! What’s wrong with shutting down criminal’s websites?! Do you have any idea how much money these people take from the US everyday? Auntie isn’t the only one with a law degree, and this kind of case would never go to court. AA419 isn’t taking money out of innocent third parties – they are depriving scammers of their resources to destroy others! \

  2. Lawyers shouldn’t bother writing about tech stuff at all… Anyone remember what peaceful place the internet was in the very early 90’s?

  3. Quote: “It would be far better to assist in educating people so they can protect themselves instead against all such scams. Isn’t there a saying “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a …….”

    I spend hours a day answering emails from people asking me if the “You won the lottery!” mail or the mail telling them that some dictator needs their help to get his loot out of the country is for real. I am a co-admin of 419legal.org which is indeed a project of the SAPS and linked to directly from their own homepage. If you would stop, think and read, you´d make more educated comments. Please go to 419legal.org and see for yourself what we indeed do to educate people. I think most of you people are simply not aware of the magnitude of this problem.

    LV

  4. The “Artists…” seem to think that the end justifies the means. Seems they are just chasing the 419er’s all over the internet from IP to IP everytime they move. It would be far better to assist in educating people so they can protect themselves instead against all such scams. Isn’t there a saying “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a …….”

    You can keep your “solution” Lord Vader. To my mind this sort of activity isn’t something a police force would involve themselves in, so I’d be more suspicious of the installation being spyware/trojan in disguise. As described, there appears no genuine reason to require an installation on your system – rather the provision of instructions in a text file should be all that is required.

    Call me paranoid, moral, ethical, whatever…..

  5. Right on, Aunty! Legal issues aside–and I agree with you about those–it seems to me that, if very many people get sucked into this, there is a real possibility that it’s going to eat up some pretty significant internet bandwidth. THAT’S not a good thing, either.

  6. Regardless of its effectiveness or ethics, a DDOS is still illegal (at least in the US), and opens people up to serious criminal charges. The same issues apply here that sparked such controversy over over Lycos’ screensaver a few months back.

    It would have been irresponsable for Aunty (who, if I recall correctly, is a lawyer—making it professionally irresponsible as well) to encourage people participate in something illegal.

  7. So, Aunty, what then are you doing to protect people against 419 fraud? Seems as if you haven’t been to effective in protecting people, hm? Instead the problem is growing worse with each day. Why don’t you just let other people at least alternative ways of dealing with it? It may turn out that their way is perhaps a little more effective than all those warnings?

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