The reason I got into information security was through micronationalism. The hobby claimed to be about politics, diplomacy, and getting along with one another. But that’s mainly because it’s awful hard to attack a country that doesn’t exist in the real world. However, while the countries didn’t exist in reality, their online presence could be wiped off the internet with a well placed SQL injection.
Because of this constant fear, every nation had its own team of experts, working to strengthen the defenses of their own nations, while at the same time developing weapons against other nations. This led to spam cannons, like GoldenEye and Chimera, both Antican examples, that were created solely to spam the target forums with lengthy posts to max out the target server’s storage space. And more recently, a new attack method, that drops all the posts from a forum, essentially wiping out the history of a nation in one fell swoop.
This past month has brought two attacks in relatively rapid succession. The first was that the g00ns rooted invisionfree’s servers. And while it wasn’t a direct attack on a micronation, enough were affected that I was brought in by the Martinos for a damage and risk assessment. And my assessment was that, while their posts are still probably fine (g00ns don’t usually delete data), they should switch to a forum that they can back up as needed. Advice I wish more people had listened to.
This past week, another nation was hit with an attack that wiped their forums clean. And because they were on invisionfree, they had no backups, and no record of any of the work they did. All indications point to another nation, with whom they’d had a tussle recently, as the culprit. What makes this so prevalent is that most micronationalists don’t have the technical skill needed to set up and defend their own forums, and have to rely on sites like invisionfree to provide hosting for them, which means no quick patches, and no regular backups.
I have very fond memories of my days in the hobby, staying up late at night trying to fix a vulnerability that just took out another nation, and watching as GoldenEye takes down another nation’s forums. Things moved pretty fast, and the learning curve was incredibly steep, but at the end of the day, only one of the hundreds of attacks against the website I was defending ever made it through, and even then I had a backup that wasn’t even an hour old to plug back in.
For that reason, a few of my old buddies are turning to me to clean up their messes and help them out. And, being the good natured guy I am (and a little curious about analyzing the attacks), I’ve offered my help. Hopefully this won’t pull me back into that time sink of a hobby…
Slobovia: The most recent attack