Omniscient, the administrator of Hack Forums, the Internet’s biggest freely accessible hacking-related forum, has announced on Friday, October 26, that he’ll be removing the DDoS-for-Hire section from the forum.
His decision came after a series of events that have tied his forum with DDoS attacks carried with the Mirai botnet.
It all started when a Hack Forums user named Anna-Senpai released the source code of the Mirai malware via the forum, which drew a massive and immediate attention from security researchers.
A person who had taken Mirai’s source code and modified it, had then used it to launch a DDoS attack on the network of Dyn, a managed DNS service, which resulted in a large section of the Internet becoming unavailable.
Following this incident, security firm Flashpoint published a report suggesting that Hack Forums members might be behind the attack.
Three days before taking his decision, the forum’s administrator had shown interest in shutting down the section, following a bad encounter with US media.
“ There is a reason I separated it, made it Ub3r only, and disallowed profile advertising. I can absolutely see a day when it’s removed entirely. Could be very soon too. ”
Omniscient feared that his forum was being demonized and made a scapegoat for the Dyn DDoS attack and the current state of freely-accessibly DDoS-for-Hire services.
To be fair, Hack Forums is not the only forum where these types of services are advertised, but it has the biggest visibility.
Omniscient was also mad that a quote he provided to the Washington Post had been ignored and only certain portions used, giving the forum a bad image. The full statement the admin provided is available below.
“ Hackforums is a website mainly devoted to like-minded individuals who believe in learning new technical computer skills including security aspects. Unfortunately not all members of HF use their knowledge for good. HF has very strict rules forbidding a variety of topics but at the same time we recognize that some topic discussion has to remain that could be used in a harmful manner. Similar to a gun store owner knowing that a weapon he sells might potentially be used for a murder. We do our best to allow members a voice and knowledge that they may not be allowed to have in their own country or at other websites. Our member base includes many who are in our own government security, tech industry, security technicians, military, and even law enforcement. We’ve been online almost ten years and we have many success stories from members who went on to earn college degrees, accreditations and certifications in computing, networking, or security. Members have found jobs in the tech industry and often contact us with gratitude for being their first entry into the world of true computing and not just using a web browser, apps, and social media. While we’d like to see a higher moral standard from members we also can’t force ethics onto people simply with policy. Members are going to do what they do no matter where or who they learned it from. If a news agency reports about a new drug in the streets and a teenager seeks it out does that make the reporter responsible? We do our best to remain neutral the same way that Twitter, Reddit, or Youtube tries not to get involved in member content and censorship. ”