The Second Life grid is under concerted attack again, and has been for more than 2 days, but the Lindens are not being up front about what's going on, and their chief mouthpiece, the SL Insider, is deliberately distracting from the real story about the systematic effort to take SL down by one notorious racist griefer group, the Patriotic Nigras, a group related to the b/tards and 4/chan. The purpose of these concerted, deliberate attacks, which aren't done by random script kiddies or copycats, but are conscious, timed, and identical in M.O. to every other attacks, is to paralyze SL particularly for useful purposes, like this last weekend's Relay for Life to raise money for cancer research.
I saw this happening 2 days ago and didn't report it, because I didn't wish to create fodder for griefer victory-dancing. It's always hard to make a judgement about news coverage of griefing, so as not to fuel it, and usually I don't report it for just that reason, but at a certain point, the threshold of "the public's right to know" is reached. These attacks of the last two days appeared like a hundred other attacks I didn't report, which started with the very well-worn, tried-and-true early-warning system: attacking me and a few other prominent people in SL. I've proved to be this sort of early-warning system countless times before, I promptly and repeatedly report to the Lindens, but I never know if they've understood that they should listen when I tell them about an attack.
Here's what's been happening. The first sign of trouble was hundreds of offline IMs, seeming from the following people: Urizenus Sklar, Maldavius Figtree, Mia Linden, Phillip Linden, Frontier Linden. That suggests Uri could be ranting at me or the Herald drahma -- so I log on in a hurry, checking the location of the IM. Sure enough, it's not Uri at all, and of course it's not Frontier or "Phillip" Linden either, who spells his name with one "l". The messages are like this: ATTENTION: THE GRID IS UNDER ATTACK, THE PN HAS CLOSED THIS POOL. ALSO COCKS.
THOUSANDS of them pour into my two accounts, as if spammed from some object. Checking the IMs, I see the owner of an object named "GreySkall Barbosa," aged 1 day, is sending them from this URL, probably a sandbox or land left with build and no autoreturn or something. This was a common griefing tactic a few months ago, as thousands of notecards came spamming into my account from griefers in sandboxes using a notecard created by someone who was NOT spamming me and was offline and oblivious, in order to get me a) mad at that person and b) get me running to the location -- only to find that they were gone, with their spam objects still spamming.
But this time, there were no objects when I went to the locations, which included various sandboxes and odd sims I couldn't figure out, nor were there any notecards. With the objects *named* "Mia Linden" and "Urizenus", it seemed as if it was chat coming from them right near me -- but it wasn't at all, those people weren't even online, I checked.
I reasoned that somehow, these griefers had exploited some new or previously unavailable hole in the client to reach directly into my chat space and spam into it from remote positions. (The chat is only visible to me.) I figured that the new "message liberation" thing could be involved, or some kind of communications server, or some sort of chatting store-and-forward thingie.
The deluge of green chat increased into the next 12 to 24 hours, growing worse. I was in a green thicket like this: "Lindenfags: The Grid is Under Attack. Also Cocks" which then changed to something like "The Grid is Pwned". Other names were added, and there was no way to mute the objects -- you cannot mute Lindens, so objects *named* with Linden names weren't mutable. I muted the other names, but no sooner did I have 12 object names muted, with just the odd Linden name rotating through, they'd think up yet another name to put into the cycle.
Finally, I reduced chat to fade after a second and show only one line, which pretty much paralyzed all my work trying to check rental boxes, notecard givers etc. etc.
By day 2, I was getting the angry email from other people also getting this same sort of spam, who didn't realize that it wasn't me chatting or spamming, just as it wasn't "Phillip Linden," but was a spoofed object. After all, they could see if they logged off and went into offline IMs that a URL would show, and that URL would also indicate that *another person* named Grayskull (or other one-day-old accounts) was sending the junk, not me. No amount of reasoning with some particularly dense and angry people would work. One of them even invoked Angel Fluffy, saying that he had confirmed in group chat that I was a known griefer. What a raging, fucking asshole. I don't grief. I do not harm anyone in Second Life. I don't spam chat, or particle blast, or shoot, or do absolutely anything to offend on land, against the TOS. These are *griefers* whose purpose is to set people against those named. Ask the Lindens. They know I am not making or putting out such things; I don't know even know how to script them. They are merely named for me, or take objects I've created and put malicious scripts in them.
Maldavius was named along with Urizenus, because both names figured prominently lately in disputes with me, Uri only indirectly (he's been MIA through the drahma) and Mal only as the person who demonstratively griefed me, by standing on my head defiantly and repeatedly during the Concierge party, without the Lindens doing a goddamn thing to stop it. (At one point I said to Spike Linden, who seemed to be grinning through the whole thing, "Permission to shoot?" and he said "Granted : )". Yeah, that's how they solve things. I looked in my inventory but my Ordinal ordnance was missing, and I fear I wouldn't be able to shoot it. I pulled out my very first SL object, the Axe of the Leviathan and slashed repeatedly and the pixelated vaporous monster, the ugly soul manifestation of the avatar Maldavius. Spike only laughed harder. Yeah, that's how it is. More on that later.)
So now, come to find out from Tateru at the Blingsider, that this attack isn't just for me, or for Lusk, or for some of the other high profile people, while we're targeted, but is clogging up channels by making some communications high priority. She called it an "escalation" bug.
She then -- preposterously -- goes on to tell us that it isn't really the Patriotic Nigras. A more pigheaded and wilfully misleading concept I cannot imagine. Of course it's the PNs. It has all the usual M.Os., including, I might add, the same trademark step used in all these attacks: singling out me, my name, my enemies, etc. etc. for the first wave of attack, followed by various replicating objects (I saw a lot of Spongebob boxes on physics out all over the place). Duh. This has happened so many millions of times that really, the Lindens should put a DEW-line on my avatar and the minute anything happens to a hair on his head, they should scramble and cry "wheels-up".
Two days of this on several accounts, and I was quite weary. I couldn't log on with alts, as my objects like doors for tenants are tied to these accounts. So I stumbled on, hugely lagged out and nearly incapacitated.
It's too bad that I don't know specialized terms like "escalation blah blah" and that when I file abuse reports -- which I never do nowadays unless there is a really egregious attack involving something I cannot effect, larger than my own land, i.e. on Linden land, or in this case, into the very interstices of the world's workings themselves.
I realized there was something very different about being able to invade chat, and knew enough to alert the Lindens, but after my last escapade discovering the script-copy bug and having them ignore even urgent appeals to email@example.com, I gave up. Hey, it's their game.
What does it mean for Leninists to be able to seize the telegraph station so easily? It means the conspiracy continues. Lenin understood that the first thing you must do in a revolutionary coup is to seize the telegraph station, the post, the papers -- the means of communication -- and put out your own messages, and disrupt the government's messages.
Nobody likes me calling it a Leninist conspiracy, but that's because they take these two words very literally. Leninist merely means people for whom the ends justifies the means, that is, they believe their cause, which is to disrupt the grid and have people not take it seriously, justifies even violent and criminal means, just as the Bolsheviks did. They also understand, as Lenin did, the usefulness of having people smeared like "Prokofy Neva" or "Mia Linden," and they understand the utilitarian value of the useful idiots like Tateru, who distract from the conspirators. And here, conspiracy is used not in some tinfoil outerspace notion, but in the direct, criminal-code language defining overt acts planned and committed by two or more people in a group.
What is the solution?
o The Lindens need to revive their FBI case. If they ever had one. By holding a press conference and demonstratively noting on the steps of a courthouse or some other very visible RL building that they understand this is a RL crime and they will pursue it in real life where it occurs. It is a denial-of-service-attack.
o The Lindens need to stop considering these recurring crime problems as merely bug-testing challenges that they put out as a challenge to an assortment of script kiddies ranging from actual teenagers to griefers hiding out in various open groups and channels who sometimes "help" with bugs by "pushing the limits". They need to put paid, benefitted, payrolled, adults on the job whose work is classified and kept a corporate secret.
o The Lindens need to close every single group that is found to harbour any of these griefers, once they have reason to believe that the group itself is not infiltrated merely because it is open, but is in fact receptive to, harbouring, recruiting, abetting any of these griefers. They need to watch all the new accounts into these groups.
o The Lindens need to ask all persons who suffered down time, damaged property, loss of business, etc. to provide direct testimony to a commission, or to FBI agents who are on this case. In fact, it would be great if all these lawyers running around SL now looking for something to do, would start up a Lockerbie sort of class-action suit of all those harmed by the Patriotic Nigras, who have suffered crashed sims, lost customers, lost log-on time, damages of various sorts. After taking depositions from all persons who have lost business, and made an effort to establish how this fits under torts law, and what monetary value can be ascribed to it, they need to approach the Lindens with a request to turn over the names, and join Linden to the suit.
o If LL can't turn over the names as they are throw-away alts, I'd like to hear A LOT more about what's happening with security. I just had my RL name taken no doubt by a griefer, as it happened to roll up on the people list. By a fluke, I got word that the new names contained my RL name and hurried to sign up --only to find numerous roadblocks in place to signing up, even with my RL name, RL e-mail address, and perfectly well-working credit-card. My God, it's so fucking annoying that I can't sign up my RL name -- or any account -- if I play honestly, but if I play like a griefer, I have no problem.
I went back and put in a less-used email -- walla, the account went through. The payment refused to be accepted. Oh well, bag that premium then, will sort out later. I next get an email in that email that requires I reconfirm. So you must supply at least a consistent anonymous yahoo address and pick up that mail and confirm it. That means LL has IPs, and could conceivably also work with yahoo or other free email companies to do more tracking. Yes, we all know that IPs are dynamic and many people share them and all the rest.
But...it's a start, one piece of dynamically-changing identifying data that still dynamically changes within a certain circumference, which you then add pieces to, in order to reduce the circumference. And the hashmark stuff really should be working as advertised, no? And if not, why not?
Are free accounts and unverified process to blaim? I seriously do not think they are. I think groups are to blame, and the refusal of the Lindens to crack down and police groups of scripters better, to follow IRC and other chat and watch the early-warning signs (people often brag of impending attacks and recruit from them) and they need to seriously and demonstratively turn to the FBI -- and add in the aspect of property damages. I do hope some RL lawyers will step up to this historic cyber-challenge.