back to article US teen admits to 'Anonymous' DDoS attack on Scientology

A New Jersey man has admitted he participated in January's high-profile cyber attack on the Church of Scientology that took its website offline and caused as much as $70,000 worth of damage. Dmitriy Guzner, 18, of Verona, New Jersey, helped carry out the crippling distributed denial of service (DDoS) assault because he believed …

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Pirate

Serves him right

He never used 7 proxies, longcat never protects the weak, he is too looooooooooooooooooong

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Paris Hilton

you're not so anonymous

unless you use better techniques to exhibit your l33t skilz

even paris knows better

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Paris Hilton

Two minds again

DoS attacks can be an assault on the freedom of expression/speech, and as such, are utterly wrong. Scientologists (and everyone else) should be able to publish their beliefs and explain them, and having their websites knocked offline impedes that.

On the other hand, I can't think of many who deserve to be shut down more.

I won't ramble about just how bad and wrong Scientology is, or how it really desperately needs to be forced to bear warning stickers saying "they are free to say what they want, but they are nuttier than a squirrels larder, and if you actually think about their world view, it's dumber than the comment icon (and a lot less fun)"

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$70k?

How can you do $70,000 worth of damage with a ddos? Obviously someone like Amazon loses a lot of money when their intertubes go down, but...

What damage did the Church of Scientology suffer? Perhaps they lost potential recruiting opportunities, and told the judge that they could have made $70k more in blackmails had the website been up.

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wrong way to go about things

Trying to harass and silence someone because they try to harass and silence their critics is just wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

hmmm

Really? The FBI got involved over a freakin 'religious' website? All that time and money spent tracking down someone who was not harming society.. (in fact probably helping them) but they still can't say..... find Osama Bin Laden? HMMM

Do you suppose that if Osama hacked a computer instead of ..doing..what he does.. that the government and police would be onto him and treat him more seriously?

Once again scientology wins. Do you suppose the judge belongs to the Church?

I fail to see what real (serious) damage a DOS attack does to a non-commercial...or even a commercial website. Yeah hacking isn't good but 10 years in jail? Give me a break.

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Anonymous Coward

Anonymous are worse than the scientologists

That's all. People who look for targets deserving of their evil are the worst types. They would hone their techniques on people like Scientology until someone else, like say a political candidate from a party they wouldn't vote for, comes along and then they're fair game as well for purely personal reasons. Then next it's an ex-girlfriend and it never stops.

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A lesson to the Scientologists

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

I guess the Scientologists don't bother with this Christian principle. Personally, I think the US government lets Scientology get away with so much because its opponents are usually atheists, which the current US theocracy hates even more than Scientology. The whole 'vapourised alien souls inhabiting humans' thing is just a small step away from the Holy Ghost stuff in the Bible; give people a free reign to criticise Scientology and who knows what religion will be next!

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Silver badge
Alien

re: $70k

$70k is just a start form the El-Ronners. They were calculating the number of unsuspecting victims they could ensnare and the total amount of dosh they could make off the suckers during their entire lifetime attempt to go 'clear'. Just think of all those book sales and revenue from courses that they've missed out on.

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Alien

Several points to make here:

@ "Two minds again" AC

You've got that the wrong way up: Scientology does NOT want to publish their beliefs and explain them, nor allow anyone else to do it for them, apparently because being exposed to all that mighty knowledge without having first been through the appropriate training will kill you. Fortunately, it's all online now so you can read for yourself and decide if this is a religion that you want to be involved with. Provided you don't mind dicing with death, of course (PROTIP: nobody who's read any of it has turned up dead so far)

@ Christopher Martin

Possibly the damages relate to Scientology having to move their sites to Prolexic?

@ David Wilkinson

Quite true, and this was pointed out during the DDOS by Mark "Wise Beard Man" Bunker. The DDOS ceased shortly afterwards

/me waves to CoS media monitoring peeps

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Stop

scientology is a cult

The title explains it all, if you call them a church you are effectively supporting them.

There is a significant detail between a cult and a church.

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Col
Unhappy

I'm not anonymous, but I know a man who is

Anonymous is being built up as some kind of home-grown cyberterror collective. No-one "belongs to" Anonymous, they don't have membership cards or secret handshakes. They don't have goals. They don't even exist in the way that the media and law-enforcement types suggest. They're a loose aggregation of broadly-like-minded individuals some of whom have the serious, even laudable, aim of curtailing the abuses of Scientology. Others, like Guzner and Kernell, do misguidedly stupid and illegal things - perhaps for the best of reasons - and when they say the word "Anonymous" the fear-o-tron spins up and we're expected to believe that there is this huge, shadowy, nefarious network of highly organised uber-hackers instead of a bunch of geeks in their one-room apartments doin' it for the lulz.

My point, you ask? As ever, our attention is being sapped by the usual media 3 card trick. Don't look at the man behind the curtain! Pay no attention to the miscarriages of justice! Look out for the scary man in the cape!

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Jobs Halo

How does Scientology lose money?

Why is it that the retarded nutjobs get protection before the rest of humankind?

Retards and nutjobs dedicate their lives and earnings to those who long to suck the goodie out with a straw.

Scientology loses money because the Internet is the biggest straw ever invented. Without it they have to go back to Hubbard's original scheme to use door-to-door zombie salesmen.

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Flame

Re: Anonymous are worse than the scientologists

When Anonymous starts sending thugs to people's real life doors, harrasing them, and even killing them, THEN, and only then, will I believe that they are worse than the Scientologists.

This is not to say that they are right, mind you, just that your perspective is way off.

-Daniel

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Bronze badge
Paris Hilton

@Col

I'm sorry but the string of metaphors you gave as your point were rather opaque. Just to clarify, are you saying that those who deliberately associate with people who commit crimes shouldn't be associated with people who commit crimes?

Paris, because I avoid associating with her so as not to be associated with her.

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Col

@Mycho

I'm saying that the fact that someone says "I'm with Anonymous" should probably be given the same kind of credence as someone saying that they're one of the Defenders of the Martian Crown. And that while the numpties who do claim membership probably do post on 4chan, they're representative of Anonymous posters consisting of themselves and anyone else who thinks that DDoS attacks and cracking minimally secured email accounts will do anything other than alienate the Fox News-watching public from the more morally responsible Anony-tards.

No icon because I'm getting kind of bored with the whole Paris thing, to be honest.

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Col

And...

...that the use of "Anonymous", like that of "terrorism", "Al-Quaeda" and any number of other words which are or have been loaded with similar emotional baggage are in the same vein as me attaching to this post a:

--- * spook file * ---------------------------

Prime Minister President bomb nuclear (nukular) WMD NBC osama obama fofama your mama dalai lama China Afghanistan Iraq Iran tin can my man (und so weiter.)

--- * end spook file * ---------------------------

i.e. it's suppose to grab our attention and ensure that, through constant exposure, we end up ignoring the content thereby letting Them slip anything They want past us in plain sight.

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Bronze badge

@col

I really don't get what you're saying. You say that Anonymous are a disorganised collective and then seem to be trying to draw a distinction between real anonymous members and others but as a disorganised collective there is no definition of a real anonymous member. There might be original members or something but a disorganised group with open membership doesn't have classes of members.

It seems to me that being "In Anonymous" is more like wearing a burberry cap. It's a fashion statement, but it's still a fashion statement which has been hijacked by vandals and other lowlives. Don't be suprised if wearing it gets you trouble.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Christopher Martin

"How can you do $70,000 worth of damage with a ddos? Obviously someone like Amazon loses a lot of money when their intertubes go down, but..."

Probably Tom Cruise and John Travolta not being able to make their montly contributions.

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Anonymous Coward

Religion

This might be offensive, but here's the way I see it.

I've got a muslim friend that refuses to eat meat because she can't buy the halal meat where the animals have been killed by having their necks slit, she can't get hold of that meat where she lives and won't touch the meat killed by bolts to the head.

Then there's the Jovah's witnesses that'd rather let themselves die because they won't have a blood transfusion.

Then there's the Jews cutting off their foreskins ( ouch, leave mine well alone thank you very much) and the poor kid hasn't got a say, claiming to be God's chosen people, as if that gives them the right to look down on everyone else.

Then there are extremists of Hindusim and Islam willing to kill themselves because they love their God more than themselves.

I've come to the conclusion, nearly all religion is a load of f***ng tosh, and the world would be far better without it.

"Peace TV ..The solution for Humanity", <- middle east Islamic TV channel.

"Christianity is a sickness" they claim. Kill the infidel, kill the kuffar.

I'm sick to death of this nonsense. I blame the clerics, the preachers, the indigenous people in these countrys are great people ( I know I've been and stayed there), but it's the religious clerics that whip up the nonsense in a mostly un-educated populus. That's part of the problem.

And I don't Cruise and Travolta are particularly well known for their brains.

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Alien

Bad move

He'll never get the thetans removed from his body now.

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Linux

Scientology's seekret skripchoors

Boring as hell. Complete non compos mentis. I can see how exposure to that stuff could drive somebody around the bend; it's worse than having to read Harlequin romances. It's not even half-decent science fiction: it has no discernible plot line.

Did I mention incredibly silly? And crapulous?

I wonder if there's money to be made selling an anti-thetan spray, like a deodorant spray. pssssssssssssssssssssssss and in 15 seconds all your body thetans are gone.

Are there brain thetans, btw?

The scienos make a big noise about "preserving the tech" but "the tech" includes every "org" having a Telex machine, and I'm pretty sure that with the spread of the intertubes, Telex machines are a thing of the past. And Hubbard was quite particular about what color typewriter ribbon was to be used to type which document on what color paper. What'd'ya do if there are no typewriters anymore?

Have they done something like the Mormons, who reinterpreted a prohibition in their Doctrines and Covenants against "hot beverages' into a prohibition against tea and coffee?

As is sometimes said, inquiring minds want to know.

The Tux icon because with that wide-eyed look you have to wonder if he's just finished a session with an e-meter.

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Anonymous Coward

Battlefield Earth

Wasn't too bad, not a bad bit of Science Fiction pulp.

I don't know why they hate the Scientologists so much, there are much worse groups and cults out there, perhaps a little to scary for them to go after.

Still 10 years is excessive, won't someone think about the security consultants :)

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reason and rationality

"Then there's the Jews cutting off their foreskins"

Do you know how many infections occur because of smeg under the foreskin?

A lot.

So there's a reason for this act.

Not eating Pork: pigs can easily catch bugs, parasites and diseases that, because pigs physiology is so similar to ours, can be passed on to humans.

Halal? Same thing. Safer eating.

So there WAS a reason for it.

Now the reason is "because the Book tells me to". And that ain't no reason. And in almost all cases the reason for the taboo is no longer valid. We've gotten a LOT cleaner since 1,000BC.

NOTE: Ask your Jehovas whether they wear cotton mix clothes. That's forbidden, too. Best ensure they don't end up in hell.

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Cult. Church. Religion

Surely all entirely the same thing? Blinkered people following the preachings/readings/words of others?

All of them should be locked up and we can live safely.

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More scientology shenanigans

From what I understand the dodgy cult used the DDOS attack as an opportunity to solicit more donations from its members; "we're under attack and need your money now!" I gather Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson) donated $10m alone to "handle anonymous". This clearly makes the cult quids in from the DDOS and they have a much more secure server.

I am gobsmacked at the amount of effort that's gone in to this, including work done by the US Secret Service cyber crimes squad, given the facts. The cult of scientology's statistically low traffic volume websites come under attack from a DDOS orchestrated by some kids use to fighting their own Internet wars between each other. They thought this was cool and the right thing to do. Then a long time protestor of the cult, Mark Bunker, posted a message on YouTube saying that the DDOS was wrong and explaining why. The DDOS stopped almost overnight. The length of the attack was around 3 days back in January and it has never been repeated. It should be noted that a prominent protest forum came under a DDOS attack for 2 weeks before it was finally pulled. The Secret Service didn't even blink.

So, a kid makes a mistake and does something dumb. The cult of scientology is inconvenienced but manage to exploit the situation for their gain; they even said all the publicity from the attack had resulted in more interest in the cult. The kid then sees a video on YouTube from an adult saying the DDOS is dumb and wrong and explaining why, the kid sees the light and stops doing it. Yet the Government wastes thousands of tax dollars tracking down the kid so he can face a 10-year sentence for being a kid and making a mistake. Why, because they keep caving in to the whining cult.

In related news, a kid in Spain is facing 3 years in jail and a 15,000 Euro fine for an email he sent in 2005. The email was in response to a scientology email that had been forwarded to him that he thought was just part of some roll playing game. He responded to the scientologist originator with an email to the effect that he was a member of a secret organisation in the Vatican and that the scientologist's time had come and that 3 men in black were going to come and kill them; sparing only the children. The scientologists past the message on to the FBI, who past it to the Spanish police; when they did this is uncertain but he is only now being charged with a crime. The prosecution wanted the case ditched, the whole Vatican angle makes it preposterous, but the country's leading scientologist is baying for the max sentence. Why do the authorities listen to them any more?

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@Scott Mckenzie

I refuse to listen to your words!

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Black Helicopters

Holy Cow!

"Guzner was tracked down by the US Secret Service, the FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office."

Jeez, those Xenu-Monster-Lizard lovers sure got a lot of pull!

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Anonymous Coward

Scientology?

Isn't that the Metropolitan Police Social Club?

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@Robert

gLOL!

I see what you did there....

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Boffin

@ Religion

If only the atheists could be a lot less like the people who have a religion you'd put people in prison for.

There would be a lot less replies on this thread for one thing.

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Alien

@grahame

City of London Police IIRC. Xenu HQ is on their patch.

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Alien

$cientology has nothing to do with religion

$cientology has nothing to do with religion - one of its higher profile members has denounced it's teachings of Xenu on American TV - so it isn't a church and isn't a religion and shouldn't be treated as such and get the tax breaks that it does. What kind of Government allows it to contiue like this?

Not the UK, fortunately, where it is known as a cult and not recognised as a religious organisation. I know it is slightly odd to announce than there is some sanity in British Government somewhere ... but, there you have it.

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Silver badge

Stuf that lot! What about the agnostics?

All sitting around on the fence, not committing one way or the other! Saying there might be something, but were nto sure, so just in case, well you never know, so we'll hedge our bets just in case we get it wrong! Boy they really get my goat.

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@Watashi

"I think the US government lets Scientology get away with so much because its opponents are usually atheists blah blah theocracy blah blah blah"

lol

Two things:

1)Honestly, you never hear about Scientology over here - for whatever reason, it's not on our radar (Thank [God/gods/no one in particular] for that)

2)They really have more irksome issues to deal with (crumbling economy, stagnant military operations, natural disasters, etc., etc.)

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Anonymous Coward

@Peyton

Not over where? i'm in the UK and they're definately on the radar here, especially with that BBC journalist last year ... that was embarassing.

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Flame

@Fuzzy

Damn agnostics - sitting on circular fences and hedging like mad. I hope they give you back your goat.

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@@Peyton

Here in the US. I think the CoS is headquartered in the UK, so maybe that's why we don't hear much about them in the States? Outside of El Reg, my only media exposure to it has been a mention about John Travolta (who is Catholic but also a CoS follower??) and much joking about Katie Holmes not being able to scream while giving birth (never heard if she managed to pull that one off).

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Anonymous Coward

@Peyton: Scientology HQ

Main Scientology HQ is in Clearwater, Florida - 'Flag Land Base' AKA Fort Harrison Hotel.

So yes, they are most definately HQed in the US.

P.S. Anonymous is at cause

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Paris Hilton

@Mark

"Do you know how many infections occur because of smeg under the foreskin?

A lot."

Are you sure you're not, to twist an expression, talking bollocks? The majority of europeans don't have vasectomies, and also don't contract cock infections. Don't spread FUD.

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@Anonymous Coward

Do you know how many teapot accidents occured in 2006? If I recall correctly, 467.

That's a lot.

You're right in so far as it used to be a LOT higher but nowadays we're much cleaner.

Which, if you'd bothered to read the rest of the message, would have been the FREAKING POINT! These strange ideas were part of what really did have to happen for health and safety. Since science discovered why these things were needed, we've been able to clean up our act and remove the need for these restrictions (though I admit I don't know why the mixed fibres thing was made up). Before then, religion figured that demons caused illness and a good healthy stink saw them away.

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Anonymous Coward

Agnostics

we have had our martyrs.

I have given up on pure agnosticism, too cut and dry for my liking. I am now into pluarality with a dose of paganism and matrix-esque overtures along with a healthy dose of paradoxical certainty and uncertainty, fluctuating in a shallow sine curve, with a z axis of extreme compassion, and a sprinkling of 4th dimensional naughty spiciness.

So far it is working out great for me.

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