INDEPENDENT NEWS

Maori Cyberterrorism Vs LEGO Leads To Reprisals

Published: Fri 8 Nov 2002 04:44 PM
New Zealand website Aotearoalive.com has been threatened with hacker attacks from a group calling itself the Army of Free Speech following a denial of service hacker attack earlier this week on a LEGO fan website by an anonymous “Maori Cyberterrorist”. Stranger than fiction. You bet. But this is for real!
The following is the message received by Aotearoalive.com today.
“To whom it may concern:
In response to the unlawful "terrorist" hacker attack on BZPOWER, we have learned the Army of Free Speech is preparing a retaliatory strike on the Maori site network. The A.F.S. has researched of the Maori's extortion of Lego over the use of "cultural language." Even though the Maori tribe has benefited financially, members of the tribe continue to attack... in this case "a community of children." This attempt to "bind the use of language" is unacceptable on the world wide net and will be punished accordingly by the the army of free speech. If you have any power to stop the Maori hack attacks, please do so... otherwise, prepare yourselves for a cyber war that could be devastating. These people are not joking.
Best regards,
Free Speech Worldwide Inc
Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Adminstrator of Aotearoalive says that he woke up to this yesterday to find his site under attack in retaliation to the damage the alleged 'Maori cyber terrorist' did.
If you read the posting (transcribed below) from the BZPower site you will see that the hacker took the discussion forums down using a denial of service attack. A denial of service attack floods a website with garbage file requests until it overloads the servers.
In their response to the attack BZPower has connected the hacker attack with a series of postings last year by Aotearoalive.com’s Catherine Karena. And linked in the BZPower posting are excerpts from these postings.
Aotearoalive.com says this is a doctored version of what was said (See… http://www.bzpower.com/story.php?ID=631). And Catherine Karena has responded to the allegations in the tino-rangatiratanga yahoogroup. (see…
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/tino-rangatiratanga/message/10282)
THE COMPLETE BZ POWER POSTING FOLLOWS…. (Click Here For Original
ISP forced to pull plug on forum indefinitely
For the last several days, a self-proclaimed Maori hacker has attacked BZPower’s forums with a form of a Denial of Service hack. Despite the BZP staff's long hours trying to counter the threat, our hosting provider has pulled the plug on the forums until the cyberattacks cease.
On Sunday, an anonymous post in the Completely Off-Topic forum stated the hacker’s intention to attack the site. The threat used a year-old grievance of some Maori tribe members against the LEGO Company’s use of certain Maori-derived words in the Bionicle line of products (see links at bottom). The attack exploited a weakness in our IkonBoard forum software, and although we were able to lessen the impact, the unsophisticated yet persistent attacks still caused the server to slow to a crawl. Requests for assistance on IkonBoard’s support forums have not been answered, and there is no documentation available about thwarting such a brute force attack.
At its height, BZP was pummeled by tens of thousands of garbage server requests per hour.
The initial threat was posted Sunday morning:
I am giving you 24 hours to pull this board down and discontinue the abusive use of the Maori culture, customs and history.
Once you have pulled the board down you will then need to contact Leggo and announce to them and the international press your remorse and desire to begin an active campaign against the abuse of indigenous cultures.
Failing that its open season...
Kotiate (thats 'koti' as in 'kokoti' and 'ate' as in 'ate')
ps:deleting this post means we being immediately
The thread was closed almost immediately, and the attacks started an hour afterwards. Using information about the hacker, we contacted their ISP (Verio) who hasn’t responded since we first tried to contact them on Sunday. The hacker's email provider may be able to provide information in December. Until then there is apparently no way for BZP to stop this Maori cyberterrorist from shutting the forums down.
Of the two self-proclaimed Maori who have visited BZP, this is the second overwhelmingly negative impression they have imparted. Previously "Kataraina" joined and provided several days worth of aggressive and contentious posts (see side article).
The current demand by the Maori hacker, obviously unreasonable and insulting, will not and cannot be met, since we deny any and all allegations of abuse. BZPower has never abused or encouraged the abuse of the Maori culture, or any culture or people, despite the opinions of some few radicals. We continue to use the terminology employed by the LEGO Company, including words like Toa, Mata Nui, Pohatu, Whenua, and Tohunga. The BZP staff is fiercely committed to returning the forums to functionality as soon as possible. We also staunchly defend the right of any person to speak their mind and defend their point of view, which a Maori terrorist has taken away. BZPower will do everything in its power to end the hacking attacks and return our forums to service.
BZPower would like to ask for the assistance of anyone within the Maori sphere of influence, who would be able to help convince the radical elements within the Maori people that such destructive behavior is counterproductive to improving that culture’s international acceptance. Such negative publicity is certain to impede anything the Maori are trying to achieve, and shutting down a forum about a toy will certainly do more harm than good in the long run.
More information:
1. Toy Wars (National Review - http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-wood112101.shtml)
2. Maori Lawyer Accuses LEGO (The Guardian Unlimited - http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,498825,00.html)
3. The Maoris and LEGO (First Peoples web site - http://www.firstpeoples.org/land_rights/new_zealand.htm)
4. LEGO Rejects "cultural piracy" (The Age - http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/2001/05/30/FFXQGCCZBNC.html)
TRANSCRIPT ENDS
Alastair Thompson
Scoop Publisher
Alastair Thompson is the co-founder of Scoop. He is of Scottish and Irish extraction and from Wellington, New Zealand. Alastair has 24 years experience in the media, at the Dominion, National Business Review, North & South magazine, Straight Furrow newspaper and online since 1997. He is the winner of several journalism awards for business and investigative work.
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