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back to article 'Natural health' website apparently hacked by sinister forces

A two-man "natural health" website claims to be the victim of a DDoS and hacking attack after it mounted an attack on a scientific paper outlining the health benefits – or lack of same – of organic foods. At the start of the week scientists at Stanford University published a peer-reviewed study suggesting that organic foods …

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Heh.

If by "DDoS" they meant "too many people hit our hamster-powered webserver at once so it died," and by "hacked" they meant "we don't know how to restart it after it crashed."

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Anonymous Coward

"Script kiddy"? WTF is that?

Please use proper spelling: "script kiddie"

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Holmes

meh

I would not be surprised to find out they hacked their own servers as a way of getting free press for their website. Much cheaper than paying for your own advertising

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Re: meh

A quick look at the website shows it smacks of conspiracy theory. I wouldn't put a self-hack beyond them, either.

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Re: meh

As someone who was on here arguing the case for organic foods when El Reg covered the original report, it's sadly that I have to agree. Not necessarily that they hacked their own site (though a deliberate Streisland is one possibility), but that it's highly unlikely to be some cunning attack by Evil Corporations. Seriously, the big players are mostly smart enough by now not to think a brief forced downtime would do anything to supress the information (note that the original Streisland effect was due to legal action. I don't think anyone has ever been stupid enough to think DOS is a viable means of supressing information. Anonymous themselves use it as a means of drawing attention to something - e.g. DDOSing the F1 racing in Bahrain to draw attention to their human rights abuses, not because they think it will supress information). So I'm very intrigued to hear how the organization know that the attack was by an organization with "large scale capability".

Couple of possibilities as I see it: a popular attack by script kiddies in the increasingly politically polarized world who see "greens" as something that must be fought against. Possible. The site themselves doing a self-hack either by just faking the hack (which would be quick to unearth by either their hosting company or, if self-hosting, by lack of evidence provided to the authorities to assist an investigation. Thirdly, some very, very stupid person working in the farming industry who just happens to be cozy with a criminal group who have these resources to hand or some criminal who happens to have a dislike of "greenies" or similar. The possibility it's just a motivated individual with the right connections / resources is a real outlier, one of those quirks that gets thrown up every now and then, but it's not very likely, imo.

Without the tinfoil hat on? Most likely things are (a) an attack by unpaid, politically motivated script kiddies (unless a site is ready for this, it really doesn't take that many to bring it down), (b) a self-hack (which I really hope not because it would be very harmful to organic foods) or (c) the script kiddie attack in the first scenario, but with the site deliberately bigging it up to more than it is either for propaganda purposes or because they genuinely live in a conspiracy mindset.

All hypothesis, sadly. None of it testable. We deal in probabilities until more information is released.

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Pint

Couple daft things about the "organic" label.

1) Everything I grow is grown sans chemical fertilizers (I use compost ... it's a horse ranch, do the math(s)). I have ladybugs (ladybirds to you brits), carnivorous wasps and various stick insects instead of chemical insecticides, and the rest of the stuff that the "organic" folks espouse. But I can't sell my produce as "organic". Why? Because I refuse to pay the VERY hefty fee to get each and every type of veg separately "officially certified" as being produced by an "organic grower". Why would I want to artificially drive up my prices, without actually benefiting my customers, and with no extra profit to myself?

2) EVERYTHING that you eat that isn't taken from the wild is a GMO. Unless, of course, you can show me where the wild corn (maize, to you brits) is grown. Or the wild red winter wheat. Or wild Belted Galloways. Or wild "heirloom" tomatoes. Or wild Russet potatoes. Or wild Holiday poultry. Or wild apples. Or wild navel oranges. Etc.

3) All life on the entire planet lived on food produced without the "organic" label, until the Hippies (most of whom had and have no actual concept of farming) overloaded a word meaning "contains carbon" into the meaningless, feel-good "good for you and the Earth". In the early 1970s.

In my mind, the whole "organic" thing is a joke at best, and a money-making licensing scam at worst. Unless, of course, you can tell me where the wild poodles come from ...

Beer, because it is always (that's ALWAYS!) made from GMO grain, GMO hops, GMO yeast ... Oh, and of course everybody's favorite: inorganic[1] water.

[1] Yes, you knucklehead hippie-wannabes ... water is most definitely inorganic. Please stop drinking it, in all it's forms and concoctions, post-haste. Ta. Will take a few days, but you'll do the rest of us a favo(u)r.

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Re: Couple daft things about the "organic" label.

Nice try on the inorganic water, but I would imagine the preferref drinks will just switch to club soda and sparkling water, both of which are CARBONated. Ha ha! Organic water!

PS. Joke mode in effect. No icon because I'm posting mobile.

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Re: Couple daft things about the "organic" label.

Ah, but carbonating water means adding evil chemicals to it!

Don't you know that carbon dioxide is DESTROYING the planet?

And carbon dioxide is in BEER, too, alas!!!!!111!!!1one!!eleven!!! (I won't mention the dihydrogen monoxide that is always present in water & beer ... and every fresh-picked fruit and veg known to science. That'd just scare the greenies & veggies.)

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Re: Couple daft things about the "organic" label.

I still prefer to stick with things that became "GMO" via natural processes (cross-breeding/pollinating) rather than those that became GMO via gene-tweaking in a laboratory. Rather less of a gamble, considering that we don't know *that* much about how various genes interact.

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Re: Couple daft things about the "organic" label.

Focusing on the nutritional content of the food, organic or otherwise, is to miss the point. The real problem with industrially farmed food is not the inherent nutritiousness of the food (which would have to be at least pretty similar to any alternative, otherwise whats the point in eating it), but with what is added to it to help it grow, ie pesticides, weedkillers and fertilisers.

Personally I have a big problem with pesticides above all, as the idea of deliberately poisoning food in order to kill animals (insects usually, but they are still animals) strikes me as asking for trouble. Not to mention that as they kill insects pretty indiscriminately, they have a disastrous effect on ecosystems. Plus, speaking as a beekeeper, I strongly suspect that many of the stories of 'colony collapse disorder' are linked to pesticides (in fact the evidence points to the seed-applied, and thus systemically present, neonicotinoids as the main culprits).

Weedkillers and fertilisers simply complete the job of ecosystem destruction, and taking it to the ultimate endpoint, our agricultural land will be turned first into a 'green desert', where only the crops survive, and then most probably into a true desert, as soil structure is a complicated thing, and largely dependent on the action of things living in it.

In our desire to control our environment, we may be screwing it up beyond repair. So while I dislike the 'green' lobby, I find myself agreeing with their goals on this one, if not their principles.

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Re: Couple daft things about the "organic" label.

Well said that (wo)man.

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Re: Couple daft things about the "organic" label.

" Because I refuse to pay the VERY hefty fee to get each and every type of veg separately "officially certified" as being produced by an "organic grower"."

We have several 'bodies' where you can get accreditation.

Many/most need a fee for an 'approval' sticker and then you can go 'organic'.

But many/most do not check other ingredients in products so you can have all sorts of pretty labels but still use palm oil and other products from destroyed rainforests etc.

I've just done a quick Google on 'organic water' and you are wrong - there are loads of 'organic' water products. It must be true 'cos the makers say so.

As you well know - horse shit is organic, sell it as 'organic fertiliser'.

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Re: Couple daft things about the "organic" label.

Sell it as 'Completely Natural' then - cook up your own thing.

'Completely Natural(tm) Fresh Strawberries'

We grow our strawberries using Organic methods with no pesticides...

Not saying you're organic, just natural and using similar methodology. When supermarkets call Salmon 'Loch Kiel Salmon' and there is no such Loch in existence, as 'Loch Kiel Salmon' is a brand name, not a geographic description of origin, I'm fairly sure you can use such grey marketing to be honest instead and get round paying the tithe while getting your message across

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Big Brother

"It never existed!"

> 2012

> Implying that slimy megacorps would use freelancers to disappear a site 90's X-Files style

> Instead of using the IP police or run-of-the-mill lawfare

Posting this on my way to the organic food store.

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Anonymous Coward

DDoD or not..

.. I have absolutely NO respect for any organisation that links to sites with an exit popup.

Exit popups ("Hey, do you really want to leave? Here is a special offer") are in my opinion one of the worst tactics of hard selling, and the moment I encounter it the site is effectively on my banned list. Not only will I not examine the site or its products further, it gets actively blacklisted.

If I had time I'd seek a plugin that would spot the "on exit" presence and not even go onto the page.

Now, back to the topic - I think I may have a look at the study now. I really dislike GM and the various additives (and the sirup used to make things taste "better" - especially aspartame doesn't exactly do that for me), but that doesn't immediately equate to "organic" although that is claim they'd like me to believe..

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What's the big deal...

Poisoning rivers and lakes is the price we must pay for cheap food?

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Re: What's the big deal...

"Poisoning rivers and lakes is the price we must pay for cheap food?"

No --- cheap cars, tellies, clothes, computers etc.etc.

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Holmes

Actually organic stuff does have an advantage

If often tastes better than the vat-grown muto-crap that comes out of most supermarkets.

At least, if the fruit & herbs that come out of our garden is anything to go on...

Mind you if you're on a health-kick you probably don't care about what your food tastes like as you're busy avoiding stuff like butter, cream and bacon sarnies.

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