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Mixter: I'm going to talk with the FBI

In an interview with ZDNN, German hacker says he plans to provide technical aid to US authorities

The "white-hat" hacker known as Mixter, who is reportedly being sought for questioning by the FBI in conjunction with last week's Web-site attacks, expects to talk with the agency within the next 24 hours, he said in an interview Monday with ZDNet News.

"I will be talking to the FBI via phone, briefly, about the technical aspects of catching (those responsible for last week's) attack," the hacker -- who claims to be German -- wrote in an interview using Internet relay chat (IRC). "I want the attacker to be catched."

Mixter is the author of one of the hacking tools thought to be responsible for at least some of the attacks on major Web sites last week. Called the Tribe Flood Network, the program allows even moderately technical Web vandals to shut down Web sites via an attack known as a distributed denial of service.

Such an attack, which overwhelms a Web site with a continuous stream of data or repeated access attempts, either slowed or denied access to several major sites, including Yahoo!, CNN.com, Buy.com, eBay, E*Trade and ZDNet at different times last week.

On Monday, the self-proclaimed hacker also posted an analysis of distributed denial-of-service attacks on his Web site. The posting followed one from the previous week that offered system administrator general guidelines on how to detect if they've been attacked.

A spokesman for the FBI would not comment on whether the agency was indeed seeking the counsel of Mixter but did add, "Suffice it to say, we are following any and all leads that we feel will be productive."

Mixter said German authorities know his whereabouts and could arrest him if they thought he was truly connected with the case. "If there would be any trace leading to me, they'd knock at my door," he said.

Mixter created two different programs -- Tribe Flood Network and Tribe Flood Network 2000 -- that are designed to shut down Internet sites using a distributed denial-of-service attack. In a previous interview with ZDNet News Mixter explained that the programs were designed to illuminate holes in today's Internet infrastructure.

"This is the security concept known as "full disclosure," he said. "The main idea is that security people find and post any weaknesses, including really dangerous ones, as soon as possible, so everyone has a chance of analysing them and thinking about countermeasures."

Rather than hinder the US investigation, Mixter said he would like to speed it so the FBI won't have an excuse to push for increased surveillance powers. "If the FBI has no (leads, then they will claim the) hackers are 'too good for us,'" he said.

Still, he will not be hunting down the attackers himself. "I will never be a 'hacker hunter,' " he stressed. "(I am) just helping them technically (and) to develop countermeasures against the software."

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For full coverage see the Denial of Service Roundup.