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Hacker source code shop closes its doors

By Paul Roberts
July 15, 2004 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - An online shop that was selling the source code for two computer programs has abruptly suspended its operations, citing a "redesign" of its "business model."
The Source Code Club opened its doors on Monday, using an e-mail posting to an online discussion group to advertise the availability of source code and design documents for two products: the Dragon intrusion detection system (IDS) software from Enterasys Networks Inc. and peer-to-peer (P-to-P) server and client software from Napster LLC, now owned by Roxio Inc. By Thursday, the group's Web page displayed a message saying the club had ceased operations due to "fears our customers faced."
The group used a Web page with an address in Ukraine to advertise its wares, saying it was selling "corporate intel[ligence]" to its customers, along with other, unnamed, services, according to a message posted to the Full-Disclosure mailing list by a group or individual using the name "Larry Hobbles."
The group offered the Enterasys Dragon IDS 6.1 source code for $16,000 and the Napster code for $10,000, according to Kevin Flanagan, an Enterasys spokesman.
Today, the club's Web site was renamed the "former SCC page," with the group saying it plans to re-emerge, but that it needed to change its business model to ease customers' fears.
"Selling corporate secrets is ... very tricky, and we believe it is an area that we can conquer," the statement read.
Enterasys is working with the FBI to investigate the club's claims, but company representatives are still unconvinced that the product source code was stolen, Flanagan said.
Even if the theft did occur, the company is confident that the code was obtained from "media" such as a computer hard drive or CD, rather than the company's network, Flanagan said.
That opinion is based on a structural analysis of the source code files exhibited on the club's Web site, he said.
Flanagan couldn't say how media containing the source code might have leaked, citing an ongoing criminal investigation, but he added that it was theoretically possible a company developer copied it onto a CD or other portable media "for convenience," even though the company prohibits such copying.
Dragon IDS 6.1 is around 1 year old, and customers who upgraded to Versions 6.2 and 6.3 were protected, because significant differences in the later versions make it difficult to carry out attacks on the upgrades using the 6.1 code as a model, he said.
Enterasys didn't contact "Larry Hobbles" or the Source Code Club. Instead, the company turned directly to law enforcement, Flanagan said.
He declined to speculate on why the Web page was off-line, saying

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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