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One Family Suffering Through Years-Long Trolling Campaign ( 256

blottsie writes: Since 2010, the Straters have been under assault from an online campaign of ever-increasing harassment — prank deliveries, smear attacks, high-profile hacks, and threats of violence against schools and law enforcement officials in their name — and it's slowly torn them apart. Masterminding it all is a teenage Lizard Squad hacker from Finland, at war with their son, Blair, over a seemingly minor dispute. "When the family started getting notices about their utilities being disconnected, they realized things were escalating out of control. Utility provider Commonwealth Edison once called the house to iron out the details about a request to have the power turned off after a supposed move. Something similar happened with their trash service. On Halloween 2013, Comcast shut off their cable and Internet service."
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One Family Suffering Through Years-Long Trolling Campaign

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2015 @03:56PM (#50996569)

    to cancel my Comcast subscription?

  • Well if anything can help, it's putting their name all over the interwebs.

  • Time to hire a lawyer, one in the US and one in Finland. A Finnish lawyer is going to be able to mobilize the local authorities, and better sue the guy in Finnish civil courts.

    • Why civil courts? What he's doing is a criminal offense.
      • As the article stated, the police, FBI, and other authorities have thus far done nothing. Sue his ass in court. Criminal court is not the only avenue to pursue justice.

        I am not an expert on Finnish law, but in the US, the civil courts have a much lower threshold of proof. Even without any proof, being sued by someone is a huge inconvenience.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Things people always seem to forget they can do. If you have credible evidence against an individual committing a crime, you provide it to law enforcement and they refuse to act, you sue the law enforcement agency. Remember, in the US, the requirement to make a lawsuit valid is you need to be able to prove the defendant has caused you damages. Though not required, most states will allow a jury trial of up to 6 jurors for a civil matter if requested. For federal issues, a civil case amounting of more tha

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            And a law enforcement agency not acting on a criminal offense when provided credible evidence is pretty well a slam dunk in front of a 6 person jury for damages caused.

            That's special that you think that. Warren v. D.C. [], DeShaney v. Winnebago County [], and a slew of other court rulings argue otherwise.
      • Why civil courts? What he's doing is a criminal offense.

        Since the Finnish kid was a minor at the time, it seems the criminal system used kid gloves against him (even when it was able to convict him of a crime). That's probably why civil court was suggested as a better option. That, and civil court has a lower standard of proof.

        That being said, the problem seems to be much bigger than one Finnish guy. He may have incited others to hate his target, but it would seem he's not the one committing the bulk of the crimes. And that's really the main problem here that ge

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Basically you hire a lawyer to sue the crap out of the idiots who fell for those pranks causing you to suffer. So sue comcast for falsely claiming you disconnected, sue the power company if they cut you off, sue every one who falsely messed with you. The reality is, it is their failure and when you sue them, their lawyers will undoubtedly find the perpetrator and make them pay. It is their fault for failed security proceedings. As for those threats, threats under some ones else's name is still a threat and

    • Re:Hire a lawyer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2015 @04:09PM (#50996693) Journal
      There's a huge investigation on the guy by the Finnish police (according to the article). He's already been in jail once. The problem is, he hasn't done anything (as far as anyone can tell). He complained on a forum, and other people have been doing the harassing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Time to go to Finland and beat the crap out of him.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Sometimes violence is the answer and this sure sounds like one of those times.

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          Assuming that there isn't someone else behind the attacks who is covering their tracks by framing this guy.

      • I'd still hire a lawyer and at least get some advice. I don't profess to have knowledge of Finnish law, but if this were entirely in the domain of the US - it doesn't matter that other people are doing the harassment. The civil courts do not work like a CSI TV episode. You do not need empirical proof beyond a reasonable doubt in a civil case. A good lawyer could make that guy's life miserable.

      • by PRMan ( 959735 )
        That's why both the e-mails of the services attacking him have his name in them? Please.
      • It's not that he hasn't done anything, it's that when he was convicted he was a minor which meant he got probation.

        Assuming that the Finnish age of majority is 18, he'll be charged and prosecuted as an adult for any crimes he's engaged in at this point. That may make a difference or may not.
    • Ah, but has the guy committed any crime in Finland to give their courts jurisdiction?

      More likely you'd have to get the kid extradited to sue him in US courts. Of course good luck with that, we haven't even figured out a solution to completely homegrown trolling/doxxing/etc.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2015 @04:06PM (#50996673) Homepage
    But not that hard to sue/demand compensation from idiots tricked into harming them.

    Cut off my cable because some stranger told you to do so? Better give me a free month or be sued for breach of contract.

    • What do you do when you get three tons of gravel dumped on your driveway?
    • I could not agree more. Sue the phone companies, sue the deaf messaging service, sue Linked In, sue Facebook, etc. This is a lawyers field day. I can't believe people aren't lining up at the trough for this one.

    • Which the cable company would *love*. Then they can make it even harder to cancel and all subscriptions become essentially lifetime. Sorry the DNA sample you submitted with your cancellation request seems to be contaminated. You'll have to submit another and allow six to eight weeks for processing before we can cancel your service.
  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2015 @04:09PM (#50996691)
    This article tries to make the troll sound evil, but he did get them disconnected from Comcast
  • by wkwilley2 ( 4278669 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2015 @04:15PM (#50996729)

    Just finished reading this article all the way through, it's fucking disgusting.

    And yet, I can see how easy it would be for this to happen in the first place.

    He's basically a 21st century Charles Manson, I'll bark if you bite.

    • I understand the he is in another country but at some point they know who it is and where to find them in the US at least computer hacking is a felony but battery is only a misdemeanor.

  • The real issue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2015 @04:22PM (#50996797)

    The real point we should all take away is how insecure these utility companies really are. You would think any competent business would not be fooled more than once on the same address. How hard is it to put a note there this address is prone to phishing attacks, don't process request without fully verifying with owner. Lock account without direct content to owner. There are so many easy ways around these common exploits, but the management of these companies is so behind the times it's ridiculous.

    It wouldn't be hard to do something like 2 factor authentication right over the phone either and that could be turned on for high risk targets like this. Basically utility companies are not taking their customers security seriously.

  • But the article indicates the kid being targeted by this campaign is no saint himself, both in his interactions online plus his arrest for hacking his own high school's website.
    • Yeah, but what's the rest of his family guilty of?
  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2015 @04:30PM (#50996883) Homepage
    1) The internet is a global phenomena and needs some kind of global policing to stop this. They don't need huge powers - merely being able to cut off internet service and accounts

    2) Some of it comes from companies acting really stupidly. The cable, power, Twitter etc. really did a BAD job handling the attacks and should have done a lot more to fix the situation. In particular, the 'services for the deaf' loopholes need to be fixedas this is a common abuse.

    3)We need to admit that recently, there are a multitude of ways to steal/borrow people's Identity and we change government laws to account for this. Offer name/ID change services from the government, that require the participants to give DNA, fingerprint, photo, and signature (to avoid criminals abusing it), then issue new names and ID numbers linked to duplicates of the real data with certain key facts removed so it can't be back traced. You lose your old fair-weather friends, but can give you real family/best friends the new bio data, on the condition they give it out to nobody.

  • Just got an email notice that someone signed up for a credit card in my name and with my email address. Presumably they're trying to get a copy of my credit report?

  • Could Lifelock or perhaps a more active defense service (do these exist?) help with this? I know home/auto/life insurance companies offer identity protection and/or recovery; do any of them offer protection/defense services against this kind of [sic] siege?

  • At some point you have to think they could get in touch with the Feds and ask to be put through the witness protection system. Come out the other side with scrubbed identities, etc.

    Even better, keep the old identities alive and use them as bait to draw these people out.
    • Unfortunately there is no proof of "crime" so the (incompetent) feds won't do anything. :-(

      I can't imagine what kind of karma this little shit is creating for himself.

  • When I was in HS, kids would sign their friends up for hundreds of magazine subscriptions at a time and thought it was funny. I think you can still fill out those cards and prank your friends, although I've never tried. I understand the challenge with cancelled service, but how are they getting things like gravel delivered without a deposit of some sort. Heck if I were the gravel company, I'd be happy to take a deposit, call the victim, agree not to deliver the gravel and split the deposit with them!
  • > On Halloween 2013, Comcast shut off their cable and Internet service.

    Right, because that never happens...

  • Hm. I wonder if Anonymous takes cases like this.

  • Blair says it stemmed from a disagreement over the release of a “zine” describing the exploits of Hack the Planet, a group he was also a part of. Kivimaki says his hostility stems from Blair’s threat to release the names and personal information of some of Kivimaki’s friends

    In either version of events, this family is not an innocent victim.

    Join a recreational "haxor" group, get fucked over by said group. End of story.

    If you care about digital advocacy join a white hat group like the EFF, but if you are a black hat, then get slammed by black hats, you don't deserve a long huge fonted thoughtful story piece.

    • Even if you take the view that Blair deserves what's coming to him, these dicks are going after his parents and siblings. That's reprehensible.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2015 @06:24PM (#50997831)

    The so-called hacker collectives are really just perpetrating the tragedy of the commons. We build a fence around the sheep pasture, and they knock it over to show us that we should have built a stronger fence.

    "Why did you do that?"

    "To show you what will happen when the bad people come to steal the sheep."

    It will take them a decade of growing up to realize that they were the bad people.

    Same thing with finding a wallet on the ground. A guy takes the money and tosses the wallet in the trash, saying that if he didn't take the cash someone else would have. was you who took the cash. You're the bad guy.

  • But so long as modern Scandinavia forsakes its Viking roots and is saddled with a legal system that metes out six months of community service for genocide, people like Kivimaki will keep getting away with whatever they want.

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.