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  Latest DOS Attack On ‘Second Life’ Makes Terrible Boast  
Posted 2006-10-03 by Tony Walsh
The virtual world of Second Life was hit by the latest in a series of denial of service attacks last night. As usual, the attack was delivered via self-replicating objects designed to overwhelm Second Life's grid of servers. The attack rendered the virtual world useless for over two hours while Linden Lab, maker of Second Life, cleaned up the mess and scrambled to address numerous "Live Help" requests. Last month, a Linden codemonkey claimed new security measures were "locked and loaded for emergency deploy," after a spike in security problems, but either the security measures were not preventative in nature, or they failed to properly lock and/or load this time.

According to one witness, the weaponized objects uttered a dramatic message to nearby avatars: "Terror will rain down upon the unfit gods and the flock that they govern, from now until the End of Days." This claim is only laughable for its description of denial of service attacks as "terror," since there seems to be little Linden Lab can do to stop such attacks from ruining the fun of over 10,000 users--until that changes, grid-wide attacks will continue.

Earlier coverage of the attack was provided by Second Life Insider, SLOG, and other sources.
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Comment posted by csven
October 3, 2006 @ 9:49 am
That message may not have anything to do with "terrorizing" SL. There's no reason to believe that there aren't people out there who side with real world terrorists and are simply communicating a message in a way that reaches a large number of people. If I was a brand (or a religious philosophy that didn't care about backlash) and I wanted to communicate to people who use SL, I'd do it this way as it's sure to get people's attention.
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
October 3, 2006 @ 5:26 pm
I'm guessing that this attack, like others with the same M.O., is related to W-Hat factions -- they love to play with the memes of Islamist terror -- making a kind of wierd parody/role-play of it (one of them even goes around dressed in an avatar with a turban and a loaded suicide belt; in the past they've donned turbans and guns or crashed suicide bombing planes into events, etc.)

Their use of these attributes and symbols and languages of "Islamofascism" isn't out of some devout or deeply held religious fanatacism of their own, from all evidence, but merely something they grab on to, in order to shock, offend, hurt.

Here are the features that make yesterday's grid attacks like every other W-hat attack (although I have some evidence that some of them were opportunistic copy-cats):

o replicated party hats out of the library used to do the replicating -- erm, "hats" -- get it? har har

o replicated other types of temp-on-rez spheres with numbers, not names from "Albert Linden" etc -- not really from them of course.

o followed the pattern of joining and leaving Ravenglass Rentals right before the attacks, and use of group-deeded objects to spawn attacks -- the "owners" of some of the self-replicating attacks included me, Prokofy Neva, and some tenants although of course we never did any such thing as spawn this attack, which only causes us property damage (I was suffering a hurricane of the grid's thousands of returned objects, as well as irate messages from people for hours.)

o used the same griefer alts in this attack as were used to grief me all week with tub-girl script attacks, all named "Prokofy" going through the alphabet of new names...erm...they don't seem to be readers of Tolstoy

o used fake Islamist rhetoric

The attacks on the grid and those specifically targeted against me always appear to go hand-in-hand because I consistently document, abuse report and expose one of their big lies: which is that it is "only a few bad eggs" are responsible or that none are responsible and I must be "doing it to myself" (read the Herald for a very long-winded go around with some of their apologists on this).

After each one of these attacks, we're treated to a litany of abuse about how we're for suppressing art, we're for tarring with the same brush, we're evil McCarthyites, etc. Well, after you get some 20 people in the same groups who grief you over and over again and are well-documented, you simply cease to buy the "few bad eggs" argument anymore.

We've now been through something like 6 rounds of this lather-rinse-repeat routine, where the same people who start petty griefing and prim attacks then start griefing me and others with open groups, and then wind up crashing the grid.

When I point this out over and over to the Lindens, and ask them to get on the obvious new alts (the same M.O. every time -- they always join my groups, spam me with "mental health cards" etc.), they seem oblivious -- though to their credit, they finally stepped up and removed this current batch -- but of course more are being made. And what of those magic hashmarks that were supposed to uniquely identify each computer used, so that they'd never be able to come back on alts?

It took the Lindens five days to delete all the false Prokofys, even though one of them was literally crashing into me, flying around endlessly above Ravenglass, and then disappearing just as the tub-girl script when flying, all right in front of a Linden. Another one was busy saying "Gee, Mrs. Linden, what a lovely dress you're wearing today," sort of thing.

My take on the W-hat people is that they are Leninists, that they do have some of the beliefs and methods of such movements, but it's kind of a RP/spoof for most of them. I don't see anything religious about them, they are indifferent and anti-religious; some, as tekkies and nihilists, defy traditional law and civilizational norms but from the left, rather than the right. Of course, such extremist movements meet each other coming and going.

There's one school of thought that says you shouldn't publicize information about their exploits or give them press attention. That's debatable. As I think we're dealing with what are still relatively petty criminals and fairly small-time ideologues, exposing them and their apologists and documenting their falsehoods is still a method that will lead to at least some restraint from their broad recruiting groups who claim not to grief but only offend.
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
October 4, 2006 @ 10:22 am
csven, it's certainly possible the DOS message was intended for broader interpretation, but I suspect it simply refers to actions against LL and its customers. I probably should have framed my interpretation as more a personal view than certainty.

Prok, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this latest attacks, it's great to get a detailed insider view. I might end up taking flack for it, but my policy is to report any noteworthy or interesting attack--at least as a matter of recording SL's history, if not as a way to learn something. I think what we're learning now is that LL is completely powerless to prevent these types of attacks, and that threats of involving the FBI are not acting as a deterrent.
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