Attrition.org stops mirroring Web site defacements

Attrition.org, the nonprofit Internet security site that has long hosted copies, or mirrors, of hacked Web pages will no longer feature defaced sites, the group announced Monday in a statement on its Web site.

Attrition had been displaying Web site defacements, as well as security statistics and analysis about hacks, since 1995. The group will no longer mirror the defacements because keeping up with the volume and rate of hacks is too much work for unpaid hobbyists who have other jobs and interests, the group's statement said.

"What began as a small collection of Web site defacement mirrors soon turned into a near 24/7 chore of keeping it up to date. In the last month, we have experienced single days of mirroring over 100 defaced web sites, over three times the total for 1995 and 1996 combined," Attrition said. Some days, dealing with the defacement mirror took as much as four or five hours, the statement said.

Additionally, Attrition members made the decision because "maintaining the mirror is becoming a thankless chore." The statement details abuse the group has received from Web site attackers and victims of defacements, some of which have even turned into Denial of Service attacks, which have resulted in network problems for Attrition's service provider, as well as the provider's customers, Attrition said.

Though Attrition will no longer be hosting defacements, similar resources will continue to be available. Attrition is sharing defacement notices it receives with German defacement mirror site Alldas.

While Attrition will no longer mirror defacements, it will continue to offer a number of features on its site. The group will continue to perform security and statistical analysis, using Alldas' content, as well as offering more frequent updates of other parts of its site, including computer security how-to's, essays, commentary and reviews, the group said.

The loss of Attrition will deal a small, but important blow, to Internet security efforts, according to Frank Prince, senior analyst in e-business infrastructure at Forrester Research Inc. There is generally little openly available information about Internet security problems and Attrition provided that, he said. Such information could be used to spot trends and identify other useful information, he said.

Though the site did provide some good information and was checked semi-regularly by a lot of people, Attrition's decision to stop hosting defacements will likely not set back Internet security efforts too greatly, Prince said. Internet security efforts and practices are generally slow to take hold because of economic factors, rather than a lack of information, he said.

The story of Attrition.org's Web site mirrors is an old one on the Web, he said.

"There is a history of labors of love on the Internet, this has that flavor," he said, adding that it is not new that those labors of love have had to change or cease when the work can't be done alone or without funding any longer.

Attrition.org can be found online at http://www.attrition.org.

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