Spammers trash anti-money laundering site

Spammers trash anti-money laundering site

With a little help from the hosting company

One of the most useful websites on the internet for tackling illegal money laundering has been brought down by hackers.

UK site acts as a resource for those trying to stop money laundering online.

The site keeps a database of phoney job adverts used to recruit money mules, who transfer funds through their bank accounts in exchange for a percentage of the funds passed.

Many of the sites advertising these jobs are extremely plausible and may use the names of real companies to advertise jobs, usually billed as a 'country agent' or 'representative'.

Those who sign up usually do so unwittingly but can find themselves facing bigger penalties than those who steal the money in the first place.

The British site, run by Bob Harrison, is frequently targeted by malware writers eager to take it down. Now, after a new attack, his domain host UKReg has done it for them.

A dual-pronged assault launched this week consisted of a denial-of-service attack against the site, and a spam campaign which purported to come from the site and requested that money be sent to support the operation via an e-gold account.

"In some ways the attack is working," Harrison said. "Because there were many objections to the spam, and because the domain name has been mentioned, [UKReg] took it down. I have appealed against it and am being supported by the police which is very helpful."

No-one at UKReg was available for comment at time of going to press.

Security professionals have voiced their support for Harrison. "Clearly the good people at Bobbear have upset the bad guys," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

"The criminals have retaliated by trying to smear the website by sending spam in Bobbear's name and asking for donations.

"Innocent people might be tempted into contributing in the fight against internet child abuse and money laundering, but the only pockets they would be filling belong to the criminals themselves."