Web vigilantes launch attacks

A group called the 419 Flash Mob are conducting denial-of-service attacks against Web sites they claim are used by Internet fraudsters

Internet vigilantes have launched a 48-hour bandwidth attack against spammers who defraud people online.

The 419 Flash Mob, supported by Artists Against 419, has declared war on criminals who host fake bank Web sites in the hope of luring victims to deposit money there. The attacks began on Wednesday.

A Web site statement from Artists Against 419 said, "This flash mob is in celebration of Chinese New Year... Our aim is to shut down eight fake bank web sites in less than 48 hours!"

The criminals who operate the 419 scam, also known as the advance fee fraud, send out emails, letters and faxes asking for help to recover a large sum of money from a bank, in return for a share of the loot. Some of these scammers have now graduated to running their own fake banking Web sites.

The gang is attempting to recruit as many people as possible to launch denial-of-service attacks on spammers' bandwidth and report them to their Web hosts and to legal authorities. The Web site even provides contact details of computer crime units in seven countries.

Web sites with the following names are being attacked: Abbey Trust & Offshore Bank; First Global Trust; Allied Trust Bank UK; Crystal Bonds & Securities; Allied Trust Bank UK; KASH BANK CORPORATION; Liberty Stronghold Securities and Finance.

Most of these sites were hosted by one service provider in China which could not be contacted by phone, but Crystal Bonds and Securities appeared to be hosted in the UK. A call to Crystal Bonds and Securities' switchboard was answered by a man who initially said he represented Crystal Bonds and Securities. He then claimed to know nothing about the organisation, but was interested to hear more about Artists Against 419 and the group's denial-of-service attacks.

More information on Artists Against 419 can be found on the group's Web site.

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