Internet Terrorization: Protecting Yourself Against an Online Stalker

Just imagine this:

One morning you wake and stumble sleepily to your computer, coffee in hand, boot up and begin your day on the net. As you casually sort through e-mails, bank or pay bills online, share photos, and chat with family and friends on AIM or ICQ, you have no idea what is going on while you go about your business. All seems normal on this warm summer’s day.

Then, a friend mentions sending you an e-mail, one you never received. At first you rationalize it by thinking, well the net is crowded and imperfect-it happens. But as days and weeks go by, you notice this happening with greater and greater frequency. Then you begin getting phone calls from bill collectors or telemarketers. Your credit card company bills you for increasing amounts of money and you know you never made the purchases. Worse yet, your minor children may be the subject of these same types of calls….or worse find porn on their computers.

By now you realize something is badly awry, but assume it can be easily dealt with. Then you notice an odd thing: your voicemail messages are being remotely deleted. No one knows your pin number and has access but you. While speaking with family or close friends, you find your call interrupted by a blast of static, which terminates the call, and shuts your phones down. Frightened out of your wits, you report this to your phone company, who may or not be interested. If you actually get a repair person to check, they find nothing wrong with your lines. You begin doubting your sanity.

Then it really begins, the terror. Your computer begins performing strangely. You can’t get online for periods of time, though your modem is working correctly and all systems appear functioning. You are denied access to certain programs on your machine. Finally. you wake up one morning to find your system locked against you with a strange name as administrator. Any attempts to get help from local law enforcement or your isp are usually exercises in frustration. Feeling helpless and alone, many of you would simply shut your computers down and leave the net.

Can this really happen? Yes, and it is happening all over this country to individuals, who are totally unable to cope and unaware of the reasons why this might be happening to them. First and foremost, reason and logic must be used when faced with a situation like this. You must examine every area of your life, looking for the why’s of your being exploited. First, chat rooms are areas that people get chosen for certain exploits. If you have been friendly with someone, talked frankly about family, friends or had open discussions about sexuality, you are high risk. It doesn’t matter really, if you never engaged in cybersex, these criminals are quite adept at altering texts or photos to suit.

Some of you out there may have been threatened with “exposure” to family,. friends and the groups you belong to. You must not give in to such extortion. This requires tremendous courage and honesty with both spouses and anyone else involved.. Law enforcement must be told immediately through www.fbi.gov. They may require you to file a preliminary report with your local police, and this will take persistence. Keep trying.

There has been a proliferation of DOS/DDOS across the country. These are Denial of Service and Distributed Denial Of Service attacks, aimed at crashing large networks or infrastructures, such as hospitals, banks, Federal facilities and more. And these attacks appear to be made using local user computers-meaning ours. We as a people, Americans, need to be aware. If you think talk about throwing elections is far fetched, trust me, it’s not. If you think Al Qaeda is not exploiting the net, you are so very wrong. And.. it’s not just in Islamic forums, but all through the net. And, unfortunately. some people may be willing participants in this, out of greed or sheer lack of moral strength. Some may be coerced using sex/extortion pressures to force compliance. We need to be responsible and responsive to this growing threat.

Does this sound like rampant paranoia? I’m certain to a few of you reading this, it must. I know better, I’ve been terrorized by a group for 38 months, who have effectively isolated me, damaged computers of anyone associated with me, used “blasting” to cut my phone connections, and threatened to kill me and harm all involved with me. Only with patient research, the use of a young man who knew how to find the damage/proof, and my own observations, was I able to finally understand what is going on.

By using Kerio firewall, I found the trojans. By researching books such as Cybershock by Lynn Schwartau, and Defeating the Wily Hacker, did I finally understand the dangers we all face. My computer, as well as my husband’s and friends, were all compromised by critical/severe DDOS/DOS trojans- TFN, win-trin00, Backdoor daemontomaster, shaftagent to handler, Jolt, and many more. These are trojans designed to exploit your machine to trunk out to larger networks and on command launch attacks. If anyone reading this has experienced the odd things we have, I encourage you to download kerio at www.kerio.com. If you find any DDOS trojans active, report it immediately.

The Washington Post interviewed a botmaster in the article: Invasion of the Computer Snatchers-Sunday, February 19, 2006. Here is a quote “Botmasters who control these computer networks are at the heart of ominous and increasingly common online shakedowns known as “denial of service attacks.” In such an attack, Web gangsters demand tens of thousands of dollars in protection money from businesses. If the businesses refuse to pay, the criminals order the thousands of computers that make up their botnets to flood the Web sites with meaningless traffic, crippling the businesses and costing them thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Be aware, depending on your location, law enforcement may not understand at first or be resistant. If this is the case, contact CERT online, and report the incidents to them, as well as to the FBI. We all must join together and work to make the internet a safer place for everyone concerned. More importantly, we need to force large ISP’s and websites to be accountable to us, when we are attacked or have problems online. They make billions of dollars a year as we browse , play games, bank and shop, using their services. And their lack of responsiveness is appalling. Particularly sites like Delphiforums.com, TalkCity.com, AOL, Comcast and so many more. Collectively, we can make a huge difference, by refusing to use their services, and instituting class action suits aimed at punitive damages for the worst offenders.

No one should have to endure what my family and friends have been put through. If you need further information, feel free to contact me. And if you find you have been compromised, I’ll help you through the process of reporting and cleaning your systems. Be safe, be aware, and start fighting back against these stinking cowards that terrorize the internet.

I want to publicly thank JTTF Agent Allen Agor and all the other dedicated folks who are trying so hard to stop this from going any further. There are a few good men and women left in this world after all. Refusing to be a victim is personal empowerment on a very deep level. It’s not always easy, but in the end, that refusal changes a bad situation into a triumph of the human spirit over adversity.

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