Packetstorm goes down
pestilence - July 01st 1999, 16:51 EST
Earlier today, the PacketStorm Security site was abruptly shut down
with no warning. PacketStorm
was one of the largest and most respected sites catering to security
professionals worldwide. Boasting an average of 400,000 hits a day,
pushing out roughly 10 gigs of traffic, the site was a valuable
resource to an estimated 10,000 security professionals world wide.
Hit the details link for additional information.
Update: Rik van Riel setup an incoming directory on nl.linux.org to recollect all documents that were formerly available through packetstorm. If you have any packetstorm documents nearby you, please upload it. To view the currently available uploads, visit packetstorm.nl.linux.org.
The security resource did not suffer at the hands of hackers or
network intruders. Instead, a new kind of malicious criminal found
success through a fear that haunts more and more Americans today.
A single piece of email from John Vranesevich (founder of AntiOnline) to the educational institution hosting Packetstorm
threatened a lawsuit if the site was not shut down. Harvard said there were "numerous" complaints, but provided no additional
Like most US institutions, the idea of being dragged to court for
any reason is enough to scare them into hasty action. With that mail,
Harvard pulled the plug. This decision was no doubt made as an
easy alternative to spending time and resources fighting the claims.
Email from Ken Williams, primary administrator for the site, to
indicated that not only did Harvard shut down the site, they denied
him access to the machine and all information stored on it. The
correspondance noted the likelihood that all information on the
machine, and all backups would be destroyed in order to avoid the
AntiOnline lawsuit. "All of the content and the backups made are
either destroyed, being destroyed now, or will be before I can do
anything to prevent it." said PacketStorm founder Ken Williams.
Williams went on to say that he does not fear any fraudulent
lawsuit Vranesevich could attempt to level at him. The information
contained on the site regarding Vranesevich was not in violation of
any US law that he was aware of, and had been there for over a
year. Along with the security site, months of William's own school
work was lost. "I have just lost seven weeks of [class] work and data
that cannot be replaced in 4 weeks." Williams said, referring to
deadlines on the school work.
"What bothers me the most is that all
of the countless hours I put into
that web site and the archives, thousands
of hours, are gone now, for good."
- Ken Williams, PacketStorm founder
These vague and unfounded legal threats only serve to hurt the
security community. AntiOnline's mission statement claims they
exist "to educate the public on computer security related issues."
Apparently, this mission statement forgot to include such things like
"educate the public through OUR site only" and "as long as we profit