A mysterious hacker has come to the defense of much-hated junk emailers, allegedly targeting sites and people who are against spam.
Some Netizens charge that the latest prank of the "Bluelister," as the hacker is known, may have contributed to the closure of Web-hosting service NetHomes last week, abruptly cutting off customers.
NetHomes said its site was forced to close because it was "repeatedly vandalized by network hackers, and the damage they did brought severe pressure from major Internet utility companies." It did not name any suspects, however.
However, email sent to some NetHomes customers, as well as to CNET's NEWS.COM, alleges that the Bluelister is the culprit. It was unclear who the Bluelister is or whether the name represented a group of hackers.
"The person allegedly responsible for this is the 'Bluelister,' a hacker who reportedly vandalized the NetHomes system and, according to hacked.net and many Internet sources, has perpetrated many other Internet crimes including harassment, mailbombing, etc.," according to an email sent to some NetHomes customers today. The email also encouraged customers to contact the FBI to complain about the hacker's actions.
So far, there's no proof that the Bluelister was the culprit. NetHomes could not be reached for comment, and the FBI would not say whether any investigation was under way.
According to Netizens who contacted CNET, however, the Bluelister has been popping up at various places on the Net, creating a list of Internet advocates who are against spam. They suspect that the list may come from newsgroup sites, such as news.admin.net-abuse.email on Deja News.
Then the Bluelister finds a Web host, creates the site, and spams the people on the list with forged email.
"It is very childish, and he appeared on NetHomes.com last week," said Richard Rognlie, senior Internet developer for Erol's Internet. "I imagine the flood of angry mail from the people he spammed was at least a partial cause of the NetHomes shutdown.
Said another: "I received two threatening emails from someone who maintained a blue list of Internet complainers. Apparently when the NetHomes folks received complaints about the list, they took it down. I think they made a good call."
The Bluelister had operated sites at GeoCities about a month ago, one source said. He also offered an example of one of the harassing emails: "Thee BlueList is NOT harassment. It's NetWare Quality Assurance. No VM/CMS SMTP bugs here. This time it's a Linux Smail test. In the future, look for similar tests of HP SNEDMail, SGI/SVI, IBM OS/2 etc."
Cyber Promotions, the most notorious spammer on the Net, said it was not aware of the hackings.
"We wouldn't resort to that type of a practice," said Cyber Promotions president Sanford Wallace. "We do not condone any type of email bombing or revenge tactics. Any type of dispute should be pursued in court, not in vigilante tactics."