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Ken Magill

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Dumbest. Oversight. Ever. Plus an Explanation


By Ken Magill

Last week I published an article—no, make that two articles—containing possibly the dumbest oversight I have ever committed while not under the influence of a mind-altering substance.

In two articles about a video anti-Spamhaus crusader Andrew Stephens of Stophaus apparently posted on YouTube, I referred to the man in the video as an unidentified man wearing a V-for-Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask. I failed to notice that 13 seconds into the video, it clearly identifies Andrew Stephens as doing the talking.

How did I miss this? Hell, I don’t know. Apparently, I was fixated on the stupid V-for-Vendetta mask. Message to Stephens: The point of wearing a mask is to be anonymous. You don’t wear a mask and identify yourself.

Would I still have written the articles had I noticed he identified himself in really big, practically impossible-to-miss letters splashed across the bottom of the screen at the 13-second mark? Yes.

Stophaus in March took credit for launching the largest DDoS attack in Internet history against anti-spam group Spamhaus. That the man behind Stophaus identifies himself is news.

But at least one of the stories would have been more along the lines of: “Man Behind Stophaus Reveals Identity in New Video; What the Hell is he Doing Wearing that Stupid Mask?”

The big takeaway? Apparently if you don’t want me to know who you are, all you have to do is wear a mask. Hell, you can sit there with your name emblazoned across your chest with big, flashing neon arrows pointing to it and I’ll have no idea who you are.

Meanwhile, an explanation is in order:

I took a lot of grief for covering Stephens last week. A couple folks said in the comments section of the Magill Report that the subject bored the hell out of them. And I know if two people take the time to express a complaint, there are a slew of others who feel the same way.

Here’s the deal: Someone in March reportedly launched the largest DDoS—or distributed denial of service—attack in history on Spamhaus, the most feared entity in email marketing. A man identifying himself as Andrew Stephens took credit for the attack and threatened more.

Where I come from, that’s news. What happens to Spamhaus has huge ramifications for my readers. For example, if Spamhaus goes away, someone or group will fill the resulting void and the results may not be pretty.

Also, some people I respect expressed extreme displeasure at my inclusion of a tasteless FaceBook posting by Stephens smearing the late and clearly loved J.D. Falk.

I thought long and hard about including that post. But it occurred to me that some of my readers might root for anyone who attacks Spamhaus. Quoting a disgusting FaceBook smear by Stephens on a dead man and then pointing out it was baseless illustrated for whom they may be rooting.


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