Angela Gunn

David Airey won't back down

By Angela Gunn
December 26, 2007 3:45 PM EST

Rule #1 of security: The bad guys, alas, don't take vacations. But David Airey is not a bad guy; he's a designer. So David Airey took a vacation, and while he was out his domain got taken by a hijacker who compromised his Gmail account, spoofed his registrar, and redirected the whole thing to a holding site, where he's now attempting to stick up Airey for ransom.

Yes, lovely behavior, and if Santa hadn't already disbursed this year's lumps of coal, he'd doubtless have one for ICDSoft, Airey's erstwhile Web host, whose security controls on domain registrations were apparently designed by Teletubbies; GoDaddy, the hijacker's registrar, which won't talk to Airey without notice from a cort or arbitration forum; Cybergate, the hijacker's apparent Net provider; the state of Florida, which (as one of Airey's voluminous comments points out) does seem to be either a transit point or the home base of an awful lot of these scumbags; WIPO, (the World Intellectual Property Organization), that useless-to-the-little-guy international body that wants $1500 before they'll pay attention to Airey's situation; and Google, whose filter vuln made the whole sorry mess possible.

Airey's currently weighing his options with advice from some of the folks contributing to the comment thread linked above. There's one class of commenter, though, to whom I'd give... well, if not a lump of coal at least a little soot. A disturbing number of folks are pressing Airey to pay the hijacker the fee he demands "so [Airey] can get on with his life." I understand the desire to do just that, but I'd suggest that just as Airey's getting a ton of support from the Net's more upright citizens, he's in a position to take a stand here against cheap playground bullies and thugs. Airey's actually in the power seat on this one -- he's got the .uk domain linked above to use, and the old domain isn't likely to earn the hijacker much from anyone but Airey. These hijackers thrive only because people pay them. If Airey continues to say no, that's one less playground bully trolling the Web for your lunch money. Send Airey a note of thanks, won't you?