Saturday, December 15, 2007

Miscreants Live! tonight on SL

Ok, after reading this post, I figure I would write something up about Celine Ballinger and those other criminals that follow their paths.

It's amusing how fast-paced SL is. It took the RL more than 2005 years to get to the file encryption extortion worms, and it took SL - how much ? 5 years ? To get to the human-powered land grabbing extortion worms with a slightly cynical flavour. Criminals you can talk to.

All this junk about "Not a lot of people give land back where they can make easy $450"... There are even easier ways to make even bigger money. Put a web server, make it look like a bank website, let people stumble on it and ask for their credit card information. This easy avenue of getting money is called "Phishing". Luckily, at least sometimes those creative individuals go to jail. Although I think they should be put onto the life-long community work of fixing the PCs damaged by the malware. And no cheating - the reinstalls are not allowed!

The usability drawbacks of the SL interface should not be an excuse to "teach" the others in such an ugly way.

Of course, there are a few very easy ways to fix this:

1) if the land is set on sale to anyone at significantly below the market value, to put a captcha.

2) by default, ask if the land is being sold to someone specific - and make the targeted sale the default modus operandi.

Indeed, technically (disclaimer: IANAL), this might be "within the bounds". But if you went into a shop owned by a mom and pop, and noticed that a very expensive thing had its pricing sticker mis-placed such that it reads 1/10th of the price, and the college kid just went ahead and charged you that 1/10th of the price - would you be happy with your new buy, knowing that mom, pop and the college kid will have to repay what you "saved" ?

And for the victims of such an event - after hearing the suggestions about ransom, I would suggest to send all the logs to LL immediately, and request the suspension/termination of the said account. And when the miscreants will suggest to tone it down with LL - indeed you can do it. *After* they return the land *and* pay *you* for their behaviour. Don't be greedy, L$1000 will be enough of an amount. Afterwards you can donate the money to some good cause - and those guys maybe can go and buy a laptop to some child in a poorer country.

If anyone with a professional lawyer background happens to read this - would be very interesting to know whether this kind of activity can indeed be classified legally as a computer crime.

If yes - this can be a very effective way to control this mess.

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