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31 Jul 2013

Brian Krebs says the administrator of a Russian cybercrime forum hatched a plan to order heroin, arranged for it to be delivered to his home, then tipped off the police, making it look as if the call had come from a neighbour's house.

Fortunately, Mr Krebs was already monitoring the website and saw the plot being planned in real time.

He alerted the FBI and local police.

"I am little concerned", he told the BBC. "But then there are a lot of things people can do to upset you and get under your skin using a keyboard and few clicks of a mouse.

"But what's the next level?"

The person behind the attempted plot, according to Mr Krebs, set up a bitcoin wallet to accept donations of the digital currency from fellow forum members.

He raised about $200 (£131) worth of bitcoins and used it to buy 12 small bags of heroin using the Silk Road online black market.

The package duly arrived at Mr Krebs's house, and he handed it over to the police.

This is just the latest example of a sustained smear campaign against Mr Krebs orchestrated by hackers and cybercriminals disgruntled at his exposure of their antics.

In March he was visited by a heavily armed police unit tricked into responding to a 911 call that had been made to look as if it originated from his home.

Mr Krebs says he opened the front door to find a squad of policemen pointing a battery of guns at him.

After being hand-cuffed and questioned, he managed to persuade the police they had been hoaxed by hackers.

The informant had used a instant message relay service designed for hearing impaired and deaf people to pretend to be Mr Krebs reporting that Russians had broken into his home and shot his wife.

The phenomenon, known as swatting, after the special weapons and tactics (Swat) teams called out to handle hostage and other dangerous situations, had begun on the West Coast, the police told Mr Krebs, but had been working its way eastwards.

"This type of individual prank puts peoples' lives at risk, wastes huge amounts of taxpayer dollars, and draws otherwise scarce resources away from real emergencies", Mr Krebs blogged.

"What's more, there are a lot of folks who will confront armed force with armed force, all with the intention of self-defence."

Denial of service
Mr Krebs also says his website suffered a major distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

This is when a large number of hijacked computers flood another computer server with messages to render it helpless.

The site was taken offline temporarily as a result.

Mr Krebs will be giving a talk about the rise in DDoS attacks for hire at the Black Hat hackers conference in Las Vegas on 1 August.


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