Cyber-attacks cause geocaching kerfuffle

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TeamMina
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Cyber-attacks cause geocaching kerfuffle

Postby TeamMina » Fri 2010-10-08, 18:56:49

Cyber-attacks cause geocaching kerfuffle - Centerville, Rail Trail among targets
10/07/10 · 8:23 pm :: posted by Susan Spencer ShareThis

It was bound to happen. A game that revolves around the Internet is ripe for a hack attack. And so it was earlier this week when a bot, registered on geocaching.com under the name ForestDefenders, simultaneously logged 4,000 caches in Massachusetts. New Hampshire recently was similarly attacked by AutoJoey, and other parts of the country have been hit by the likes of JackBobBoy, PowerCachingLTD and Joeybot.

The reaction on the geocaching.com forum to earlier bots was that this was either a hypercompetitive cacher trying to unfairly gain unwarranted “finds,� or it was a young hacker who really ought to discover girls, get out and get a life.

The Massachusetts bot, however, had a targeted message: “Stop littering and destroying our fragile eco-systems!� A click on the link (a dangerous move, but almost irresistible) leads to a blog about how geocaching and letterboxing are desecrating the environment and sacred places, either through placement of caches or by bringing people into the wilderness, which they should really just leave alone.

Interestingly, the caches that got logged by the ForestDefenders bot included some that were in well-traveled, even paved, spots. Several along the Cape Cod Rail Trail were logged, as well as a new one in the manicured Mother’s Park in Centerville. One of mine that got tagged is just a few feet from the road – you can practically grab it from your car.

The carpet-bombing approach of the bot diminishes its message, but the point remains: while most geocachers and letterboxers are responsible (the geocaching.com rules specify what’s off limits), and geocachers have organized countless trail clean-ups as Cache In, Trash Out events, there are always a few who place caches where they shouldn’t, or who recklessly abandon caches when their interest turns to something else.

It’s up to us who play hide-and-seek outdoors to keep it clean for everyone. As for the eco-terrorist hacker: Devote your creative energy to solving the real environmental threats to the planet.

Happy trails.
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