The past few years have witnessed a rapid proliferation of cheap, Web-based services that troublemakers can hire to knock virtually any person or site offline for hours on end.
For more than two months in the summer 2014, researchers with George Mason University, UC Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute, and the University of Maryland began following the money, posing as buyers of nearly two dozen booter services in a bid to discover the PayPal accounts that booter services were using to accept payments.
PayPal will initially limit reported merchant accounts that are found to violate its terms of service (turns out, accepting payments for abusive services is a no-no).
The efforts of the research team apparently brought some big-time disruption for nearly two-dozen of the top booter services.
The researchers also corroborated the outages by monitoring hacker forums where the services were marketed, chronicling complaints from angry customers and booter service operators who were inconvenienced by the disruption (see screen shot galley below). A booter service proprietor advertising his wares on the forum Hackforums complains about Paypal repeatedly limiting his account.
Another booter seller on Hackforums whinges about PayPal limiting the account he uses to accept attack payments from customers. Daily attacks from Infected Stresser dropped off precipitously following the researchers’ work.
When Karim Rattani isn’t manning the till at the local Subway franchise in his adopted hometown of Cartersville, Ga., he’s usually tinkering with code.
Rattani helps run two different “booter” or “stresser” services – grimbooter[dot]com, and restricted-stresser[dot]info.
As part of an ongoing series on booter services, I reached out to Rattani via his Facebook account (which was replete with images linking to fake Youtube sites that foist malicious software disguised as Adobe’s Flash Player plugin). In a Facebook chat, Rattani claimed he doesn’t run the companies, but merely accepts Google Wallet payments for them and then wires the money (minus his cut) to a young man named Danial Rajput — his business partner back in Karachi. Rattani and his partner are among an increasing number of young men who sell legally murky DDoS-for-hire services. But that argument is about as convincing as a prostitute trying to pass herself off as an escort. The Lizard Squad, a band of young hooligans that recently became Internet famous for launching crippling distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against the largest online gaming networks, is now advertising its own Lizard-branded DDoS-for-hire service.
The new service, lizardstresser[dot]su, seems a natural evolution for a group of misguided youngsters that has sought to profit from its attention-seeking activities. In a show of just how little this group knows about actual hacking and coding, the source code for the service appears to have been lifted in its entirety from titaniumstresser, another, more established DDoS-for-hire booter service. These two services, like most booters, are hidden behind CloudFlare, a content distribution service that lets sites obscure their true Internet address.
As detailed in a recent, highly entertaining post on the blog Malwaretech, LizardSquad and Darkode are practically synonymous and indistinguishable now. A suggested new banner for this blog from the jokers at black hat forum Darkode, which shares a server with the main chat forum for the Lizard kids. Over the past four years, KrebsOnSecurity has been targeted by countless denial-of-service attacks intended to knock it offline. At issue is a seemingly harmless feature built into many Internet servers known as the Network Time Protocol (NTP), which is used to sync the date and time between machines on a network. This bizarre story began about a week ago, when I first started trying to learn who was responsible for running RageBooter.
That email address is tied to a now-defunct Facebook account for 22-year-old Justin Poland from Memphis, Tenn. The conversation got interesting when I asked the logical follow-up question: Had the police or federal authorities ever asked for information about his customers?
That was when Poland dropped the bomb, informing me that he was actually working for the FBI.
As to the relative legality of booter services, I consulted Mark Rasch, a security expert and former attorney for the U.S. The man who answered at the phone number supplied by Poland declined to verify his name, seemed peeved that I’d called, and demanded to know who gave me his phone number.


Not long after that, I heard back from Joel Siskovic, spokesman for the Memphis FBI field office, who said he could neither confirm nor deny Poland’s claims.
Update, June 1: A little Googling shows that there is in fact an FBI Agent Lies in the Memphis area. Security experts are warning that an escalating series of online attacks designed to break into poorly-secured WordPress blogs is fueling the growth of an unusually powerful botnet currently made up of more than 90,000 Web servers.
According to Web site security firm Incapsula, those responsible for this crime campaign are scanning the Internet for WordPress installations, and then attempting to log in to the administrative console at these sites using a custom list of approximately 1,000 of the most commonly-used username and password combinations.
Gaffan said the traffic being generated by all this activity is wreaking havoc for some Web hosting firms.
Indeed, this was the message driven home Thursday in a blog post from Houston, Texas based HostGator, one of the largest hosting providers in the United States. An attack late last week that compromised the personal and business Gmail accounts of Matthew Prince, chief executive of Web content delivery system CloudFlare, revealed a subtle but dangerous security flaw in the 2-factor authentication process used in Google Apps for business customers. Gmail constantly nags users to tie a mobile phone number to their account, ostensibly so that those who forget their passwords or get locked out can have an automated, out-of-band way to receive a password reset code (Google also gets another way to link real-life identities connected to cell phone records with Gmail accounts that may not be so obviously tied to a specific identity). BooksShelfari: Book reviews on your book blogOn the Psychology of Military Incompetence by NORMAN F. When you setup this entry, be sure to deactivate CloudFlare from handling traffic on this entry. Charlie Patel is a world traveler, WordPress geek, serial entrepreneur, & consultant to big-shots in the corporate world and on the web. Excellent advice Charlie, far outweighs any of the ‘official’ guides out there!
Thanks for great info but one more thing i want to make it clear..Do we need to update MX records from cpanel and maybe even from domian control panel or so? Since you would be recreating the ID in Outlook, you would not need the mail ID created in cpanel. Such services succeed partly because they’ve enabled users to pay for attacks with PayPal.
In response to their investigations, PayPal began seizing booter service PayPal accounts and balances, effectively launching their own preemptive denial-of-service attacks against the payment infrastructure for these services.
Once an account is limited, the merchant cannot withdraw or spend any of the funds in their account. The researchers said that within a day or two following their interventions, they saw the percentage of active booters quickly dropping from 70 to 80 percent to around 50 percent, and continuing to decrease to a low of around 10 percent that were still active. He also works on TheHosted[dot]me, a Web hosting firm marketed to Web sites looking for protection from the very attacks he helps to launch. It turns out, the same Google Wallet is used to accept payment for all three services, and that wallet traced back to Rattani. Read on for a decidedly different take on this offering than what’s being portrayed in the mainstream media. In fact, these Lizard geniuses are so inexperienced at coding that they inadvertently exposed information about all of their 1,700+ registered users (more on this in a moment). Anyone curious about why the Lizard kids have picked on Yours Truly can probably find the answer in that Malwaretech story. Earlier this week, KrebsOnSecurity was hit by easily the most massive and intense such attack yet — a nearly 200 Gbps assault leveraging a simple attack method that industry experts say is becoming alarmingly common.
When I asked whether launching reflected DNS attacks was okay, Poland said his service merely took advantage of the default settings of some DNS servers. Many of the public cases that Agent Lies has testified in appear to be child-exploitation related, such as this one (PDF).
The infected sites then are conscripted into the attacking server botnet, and forced to launch password-guessing attacks against other sites running WordPress. The company’s data suggests that the botnet of infected WordPress installations now includes more than 90,000 compromised sites.


Google has since fixed the glitch, but the incident offers a timely reminder that two-factor authentication schemes are only as secure as their weakest component. The default method of sending a reset code is via text message, but users can also select to receive the prompt via a phone call from Google. Google Apps does a good job of walking you through this, and so does this CloudFlare knowledgebase.
If you’ve completed these steps, you can now wait for the internet to propagate these DNS changes which can take anywhere from 1 hour to 48 hours. Then I started using CloudFlare, followed the steps in this post and now everything’s up and running perfectly. I’m trying to mature my directory little by little by hand so that it maintains quality. I have purchased my domain form Google apps and used on blogger, then move the the WP and used Bluehost. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Tx! I moved my website from a shared account to my own VPS setup and all of a sudden I was no longer receiving emails.
It will essentially become defunct, though to keep things clean, you can delete the one created in domain. But a collaborative effort by PayPal and security researchers has made it far more difficult for these services to transact with their would-be customers. This results in the loss of funds in these accounts at the time of freezing, and potentially additional losses due to opportunity costs the proprietors incur while establishing a new account. Based on the aggregated geo-location information provided by PayPal, the researchers found that over 44% of the customer and merchant PayPal accounts associated with booters are potentially owned by someone in the United States.
And in a development probably that shocks no one, the gang’s members cynically told Dailydot that both attacks were just elaborate commercials for and a run-up to this DDoS-for-hire offering. As that post notes, the main online chat room for the Lizard kids (at lizardpatrol[dot]com) also is hidden behind CloudFlare, but careful research shows that it is actually hosted at the same Internet address as Darkode (5,38,89,132). Shortly after an interview with KrebsOnSecurity, Poland’s personal Facebook page was deleted, and his name was removed from the Rage Productions page. I said I was eager to learn more about his business, and in particular why he thought it was okay to run a DDoS-for-hire service. Rasch said companies hire stress testing services all the time, but usually as part of a more inclusive penetration testing engagement.
Poland, the person on the other end of the line informed me that he was not authorized to to speak with the press directly.
Prince said his AT&T PIN was a completely random 24-digit combination (and here I thought I was paranoid with a 12-digit PIN). In addition, PayPal performed their own investigation to identify additional booter domains and limited accounts linked to these domains as well. He rattled off the name and number of the press officer in the FBI’s Memphis field office, and hung up. Two minutes later, he received a voicemail that was a recorded message from Google saying that his personal Gmail account password had been changed. Prince said he then initiated the account recovery process himself and changed his password back, and that the hacker(s) and he continued to ping pong for control over the Gmail account, exchanging control 10 times in 15 minutes. If so, here are instructions on how to properly setup your DNS entries to play nice together.



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