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Feds say dev's 'cookie-stuffer' app fleeced eBay

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by discodave, Feb 10, 2010.

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  1. discodave

    discodave Regular Member

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    "'Saucekit' milked referral program

    A Las Vegas web developer has been charged with fleecing eBay out of tens of thousands of dollars by selling a program that planted fraudulent web cookies on the PCs of people visiting the online auctioneer.

    Dubbed saucekit, the program deposited a cookie on end users' hard drives that contained a unique code identifying affiliate websites even though advertisements from those sites were never viewed, according to documents filed Tuesday in US District Court in San Jose, California. Users who went on to take "revenue actions" on eBay would cause the affiliate to receive a referral fee it was not entitled to.

    From January 2009 to the following November, Saucekit creator Christopher Kennedy actively promoted the cookie-stuffing program on his currently unavailable website and on hacking forums. Using the handle biglevel, he regularly discussed the technical and legal merits of the program, as seen in threads here and here.

    In March, eBay lawyers demanded Kennedy immediately stop selling the program. The hacker responded by posting a comment to a forum on blackhatworld.com "mocking the cease and desist letter that had been sent to him," prosecutors alleged.

    In October, an individual known to prosecutors claimed to have generated $4,000 using saucekit as a beta tester. A month later, Kennedy left a post stating that "he had a client make almost $10,000 in one month and the $7,000 in the prior month," prosecutors alleged.

    The cookie-stuffing program exploited the eBay Partner Network, which pays referral fees to websites when one of their advertisements leads to a sale on the online auctioneer's site. The program works using web cookies that identify which site and advertisement were viewed just prior to the user visiting eBay. Saucekit directed user browsers to a website in Nevada, which deposited a cookie that identified a particular affiliate even though the website hadn't been visited.

    The criminal charge comes more than a year after eBay filed a civil complaint against business partners of carrying out similar cookie-stuffing schemes. The lawsuit detailed the lengths the alleged fraudsters went to avoid detection, such as ensuring the stuffing never took place in San Jose, California or Santa Barbara, California, where eBay and an affiliate service were located.
    Kennedy was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, in addition to possible restitution. Attempts to reach Kennedy for comment were not successful."

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/09/ebay_cookie_stuffer_charges/?
     
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  2. zenerchi

    zenerchi Regular Member

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    Oh fuck. Guess blackhatworld is baited now

    I remember that thread he made also showing the court letter, fbi documents and everything.

    May the Vaseline be with you Christopher Kennedy
     
  3. MrSmith

    MrSmith Newbie

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    That's what happens when you think you ride on a pink cloud. Even a C&D letter you should be taking serious. Instead of a civil lawsuit for $$$ in which he could have paid back (eventually), he now faces criminal charges...In my world that means "fuck me I'm going Dubai where a US Judge can't extradite me"

    Who else was caught cookiestuffing? The owner of BHW's competitor -- he only had to pay a fine...?
     
  4. zebrahat

    zebrahat Elite Member

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    "He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, in addition to possible restitution. Attempts to reach Kennedy for comment were not successful."

    Don't you just love the propaganda techniques displayed here? "He faces a maximum five years" as if he was already tried and convicted. Even though the reporter knows Kennedy posted on BHW and was available enough to be charged, somehow they can't reach him for comment. "CSers are crooked and evasive, oooh." The pejorative copy might as well have been written by EPN.
     
  5. wwesley

    wwesley Junior Member

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    noticed that bhw is mentioned there... looks like a huge influx of noobs will be coming soon...
     
  6. tonlilaz

    tonlilaz Executive VIP Premium Member

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    very slanted and biased article. normally there are two sides to each article....and normally the defense is given their side of the story....

    but, apparently the author's sided with egay.....and has already judged in the matter.

    i'd like to see him write a little blurb of all the white hat affilates egay's dropped for no reason but to make their quarterly earnings look good....

    what ever happened to that anyway?

    side note, i guess the moral of the story here is to take c&d letter seriously....atm, csing isn't illegal....ignoring c&ds however can bring about legal consequences....imo

    best of luck to biglevel, he is a very nice guy and I hope all goes well for him.
     
  7. The Scarlet Pimp

    The Scarlet Pimp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    whatever happened to shawn hogan???
     
  8. theadultsplayground

    theadultsplayground BANNED BANNED

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    Biglevels customers should be hoping that he wins this case because if he loses it give them more fire to use against his past customers.
     
  9. MiLiTARYiV

    MiLiTARYiV Senior Member

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    He should had kept this software within the BHW family. I think he was too reckless with it, he also should have had his servers offshore
     
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  10. deluxeedition

    deluxeedition Newbie

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    Looks like it is still winding through the court system

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/court-candce/case_no-5:2008cv04052/case_id-206526/
     
  11. tonlilaz

    tonlilaz Executive VIP Premium Member

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    this is what's bothering me


    also, there's a lot this article is not saying. for one thing, there are no comments from law enforcement (fbi). If this was a big FED operation, i'd think it'd be covered on major new, cnet, etc...but in a search for more objective articles i find nothing.

    also, sk wasn't just limited to egay. so, the issue here is is it illegal to stuff? or is it illegal to stuff egay?
     
  12. JuicyBlack

    JuicyBlack Regular Member

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    the other thread got removed....wonder how long this one will last.....

    Pisses me off cause I had a very witty thing to say but now I lost the mojo I was shooting for....
     
  13. BalingDazzer

    BalingDazzer Regular Member

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    Dubai isn't that bad you know.
     
  14. tonlilaz

    tonlilaz Executive VIP Premium Member

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    egay's taking a bigger risk charging criminally, unless they had pple on the inside that worked w/epn.

    atm, they're trying to equate csing with fraud. there is no precedent for this...and egay can wind up loosing big here.

    sk wasn't designed to stuff egay only. not only that, but it didn't hack egay website, it didn't exploit epn website. It didn't hack other people's computer. It didn't steal people's information.

    egay should have stuck w/a civil complaint, imo


     
  15. xplicit

    xplicit BANNED BANNED

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    Sounds like Greed got the best of him.
     
  16. brooksyd2

    brooksyd2 Newbie

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    exactly, the secret is to stay under the radar and dont draw attention to yourself.
     
  17. ClThis

    ClThis Regular Member

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    "EGay" can't file for a criminal complaint. Thats the DA's office who does that. They can only file in civil court. You can't bring criminal charges against someone if you are not the law.

    They could have had lawyers present a case, evidence, etc to the DA which may have prompted a 2 court room (civil and criminal) case(s) but they can't run both shows.

    They lose nothing in the criminal case, they only stand to gain through damages and fines awarded (the up to 250k in fines point in the article), where as in the civil court they can stand to lose...only if they lose the case...if they win they can win lawyer fees + actual damages.

    The only people losing in criminal are the tax payers who pay for all those clerks, DAs, judges, facilities, utilities and everything else needed to run the next 20+ days of court
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2010
  18. gb5000

    gb5000 Regular Member

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    I would first like to wish Chris the best of luck, and I will be routing for him in this case! Good luck to him.

    Also, I don't think the mention of BHW was positive in the LEAST! That is exactly the type of attention this forum dosen't need. Do you see why I say any discussion of any secrets you have is not to your benefit overall? The BLOCK IS HOT, LITERALLY!!!!!!!
     
  19. angelas111

    angelas111 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Well, I think everyone on that list took one big collective shit in there pants at this news.
     
  20. gotoguy

    gotoguy Registered Member

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    This is unfortunate for Chris and the judgment in this case will basically clarify whether cookie stuffing is legal or not. If Chris is convicted then the DA can always reference his case in future cookie stuffing related cases. I think if one is doing blackhat type business out in the open and gets C&D letter, then they should not be surprised to later get a civil lawsuit or a criminal one. I mean come on... I cannot think of a BIGGER warning than a C&D. A C&D in this case is actually a luxury, since there are many people who get sued without any kind of advance C&D.

    An interesting question is "What if?"...Like what if Chris hosted Sauce Kit offshore? I don't think it would mean shit. I mean it could of taken the feds longer to build a case around him or maybe they couldn't convict him with that much but either way they would of still hassled him back and forth mainly because he's living in the US.
     
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