It seems as though just about anyone with Internet access can set up a profitable online enterprise these days — including a criminal one. And for one Illinois teen, YouTube and PayPal have been all too happy to help him make a fast (albeit illegal) buck.
Brian Krebs has been sleuthing once again, and his target this time was a “stress testing” service called Asylum Stresser. Stress testing, of course, is the thin veil that skiddies (script kiddies) like to drape over a for-hire DDoS attack setup.
According to Krebs and his cohorts, Asylum looks like it’s been built using fairly run-of-the-mill cybercrime kitware that’s promoted in underground forum sites. Its servers are based in Romania, and appear to be nestled safely in a data center that is nothing if not criminal-friendly.
Nothing shocking so far, right? Anyone who has a few extra bucks (or BitCoins) to white label someone else’s criminal back-end can do this stuff. But here’s the twist: the kid Krebs believes is running Asylum Stesser is accepting PayPal payments and advertising on YouTube.
Recently, Asylum’s user database was leaked to the web and it revealed that more than $35,000 had been sent to one chandlerdowns1995(at)gmail.com.
Downs also appears to have hired an eager infomercial actor over on Fiverr. While the promo spot is good for a chuckle, it’s hard to believe that YouTube will jump all over a 30 second fan-made video for copyright infringement, but has somehow allowed an ad for an illegal DDoS service to be viewed more than 42,000 times.
Downs maintains that it’s not his fault if people use the service to launch illegal attacks. Asylum Stresser was launched so that law-abiding folk can make sure their websites are resilient. Maybe that’s why PayPal and YouTube have been fine with ignoring what’s gone on to this point.
Former U.S. Justice Department attorney Mark Rasch, however, feels differently. He told Krebs that if Downs triggers an attack after being paid to do so, he is “criminally and civilly liable.”
Downs didn’t exactly made it difficult for Krebs to connect the dots here. Let’s see if PayPal and YouTube get their heads out of the sand now and do something before an Illinois court orders them to.
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