Word Notes 9.28.21
Ep 69 | 9.28.21

bulletproof hosting (noun)


Rick Howard: The word is: bulletproof hosting. 

Rick Howard: Spelled: bulletproof for impenetrable, and hosting for cloud services. 

Rick Howard: Definition: Cloud services intended for cyber criminals and other bad actors designed to obstruct law enforcement and other kinds of government investigations, and to provide some protection against competitors. 

Rick Howard: Example sentence: Digital criminal commerce would come to a standstill if it weren't for the protection provided by bulletproof hosting services– the virtual equivalent of offshore havens where sketchy deals go ignored. 

Rick Howard: Origin and context. Also known as abuse-resistanct services and bulletproof hosting services ,or BPHS, one of the first that became infamous was the Russian Business Network sometime in 2007, reported by the then Washington Post reporter Brian Krebs. According to Cyberwarzone though, some 300 sites exist today and are located in countries that don't have good relationships with Western law enforcement, like Russia, Ukraine, and other Commonwealth of Independent States, or CIS, nations. These providers offer a palette of underground services designed to protect their customers from governments and other enemies. 

Rick Howard: Examples of services include ignoring law enforcement requests or providing early notification of the same, delaying the law enforcement process in order to frustrate the requesting entity enough that they will abandon it, Fast-Flux DNS for obfuscation, and encrypted transactions between customers. 

Rick Howard: Nerd reference: In Season 2, Episode 7 of the gloriously best hacker TV show ever, Mr. Robot, Elliot played by Academy Award winner, Rami Malek, is forced to configure a bulletproof hosting service for a cyber criminal gang and its leader and old friend, Ray, played by MTV Movie Award winner, Craig Robinson. In this scene, Ray admits to Elliot that he and his wife chose not to know about the kinds of illicit transactions conducted on the site. 

Rick Howard: But once he looked at it, he had remorse for facilitating horrible things like the selling of slaves, drugs, and heavy weapons on the dark net. One side note, That tapping noise you hear is Elliot and Ray moving pieces on a chess board.  

Rick Howard: I didn't tell you how my wife. She was so smart .Way smarter than me. She was like you, real good with computers. That's what she did for a living. So when she had this idea to do a site, it sounded good to me. I don't think she ever meant it to go where it went and she was one to make some extra scratch, but the thing grew so fast. It took on a life of its own. And the money, well, we're talking about the type of money makes you question right and wrong. So, you know, we made a deal. We decided we'd let the market dictate what was sold on the site. And we wouldn't look. She was better at the denial than me. It ate at me, all the things I imagined were going on. I feared the worst, but I still didn't look until you came along. 

Rick Howard: Word Notes is written by Nyla Gennaoui. Executive produced by Peter Kilpe, and edited by John Petrik and me, Rick Howard. The mix, sound design, and original music have all been crafted by the ridiculously talented Elliott Peltzman. Thanks for listening.