Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

12/29/2008
03:07 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

CastleCops Shuts Down

After years of fighting the good fight against spammers and phishers, the all-volunteer online community has pulled the plug

In a blow to anti-phishing efforts, the famed CastleCops organization dedicated to fighting spam and phishing quietly shuttered its site last week.

The all-volunteer organization investigated phishing and malware scams, and was credited with successfully derailing many of these attacks and phishing sites. CastleCops itself was also a constant target of distributed denial-of-service attacks and other scams.

CastleCops announced its demise just before Christmas last week with a short post on its Website: "It has been our pleasure to investigate online crime and volunteer with our virtual family to assist with your computer needs and make the Internet a safer place. Unfortunately, all things come to an end," the site says. "Keep up the good fight folks, for the spirit of this community lies within each of us. We are empowered to improve the safety and security of the Internet in our own way."

The shutdown came nearly six months after the departure of CastleCops' founder, Paul Laudanski, who left for a job at Microsoft this summer. Paul, who still owned CastleCops after leaving its day-to-day operations, and his wife Robin created CastleCops over six years ago.

"I believe CastleCops' impact was a great and effective one against online fraud, malware, and spam," Laudanski says. "CastleCops far surpassed anything I imagined for it, and to that end I, and in fact the community as a whole, are blessed."

CastleCops' shutdown reverberated around the industry this week. "It is really sad that CastleCops shut down. This is definitely a setback in the fight against phishing," says Randy Abrams, director of technical education at Eset. CastleCops successfully shut down numerous phishing sites over the past six years, Abrams adds.

"Paul and Robin devoted an incredible amount of volunteer effort to CastleCops. It was a monumental task," Abrams says.

Other similar online crime-fighting organizations were sad to see CastleCops go dark. "I am sorry to see such a good resource like CastleCops shut down, but I think that's endemic with the kind of service they were trying to provide. They were essentially competing against large companies like RSA who have big paying customers to do much of the same work," says David Ulevitch, founder of OpenDNS and PhishTank. "It's hard to keep a volunteer effort that asks so much of their volunteers going over the long course."

Garth Bruen, creator of KnujOn, concurred that the volunteer model has its challenges. "This is a core indicator of the problem. CastleCops, HostExploit, and KnujOn are the only types of projects that have had any real success in this area and we have no funding. Millions and possibly billions of dollars have been poured down the drain on solutions that have failed," Bruen says. "Without CastleCops, the banks would still be wandering around trying to figure out phishing."

CastleCops, meanwhile, has promised to refund any contributions made via PayPal that were designated for its servers by March 17, 2009. Contributions via check will be donated to the Internet Systems Consortium, according to CastleCops, unless the donor requests otherwise.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Peyton Laudanski
100%
0%
Peyton Laudanski,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/20/2020 | 6:16:16 AM
CastleCops
Thats my dad.
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 6/1/2020
Stay-at-Home Orders Coincide With Massive DNS Surge
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/27/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-20811
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-03
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel before 5.0.6. In rx_queue_add_kobject() and netdev_queue_add_kobject() in net/core/net-sysfs.c, a reference count is mishandled, aka CID-a3e23f719f5c.
CVE-2019-20812
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-03
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel before 5.4.7. The prb_calc_retire_blk_tmo() function in net/packet/af_packet.c can result in a denial of service (CPU consumption and soft lockup) in a certain failure case involving TPACKET_V3, aka CID-b43d1f9f7067.
CVE-2020-13776
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-03
systemd through v245 mishandles numerical usernames such as ones composed of decimal digits or 0x followed by hex digits, as demonstrated by use of root privileges when privileges of the 0x0 user account were intended. NOTE: this issue exists because of an incomplete fix for CVE-2017-1000082.
CVE-2019-20810
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-03
go7007_snd_init in drivers/media/usb/go7007/snd-go7007.c in the Linux kernel before 5.6 does not call snd_card_free for a failure path, which causes a memory leak, aka CID-9453264ef586.
CVE-2020-4026
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-03
The CustomAppsRestResource list resource in Atlassian Navigator Links before version 3.3.23, from version 4.0.0 before version 4.3.7, from version 5.0.0 before 5.0.1, and from version 5.1.0 before 5.1.1 allows remote attackers to enumerate all linked applications, including those that are restricted...