Hacker source code shop closes its doors

An online shop that was selling the source code for two computer programs has abruptly suspended its operations, citing a "redesign" of its "business model."

The Source Code Club opened its doors on Monday, using an e-mail posting to an online discussion group to advertise the availability of source code and design documents for two products: the Dragon intrusion detection system (IDS) software from Enterasys Networks and peer-to-peer (P-to-P) server and client software from Napster, now owned by Roxio. By Thursday, the group's Web page displayed a message saying the Club had ceased operations due to "fears our customers faced."

The group used a Web page with an address in the Ukraine to advertise its wares, saying it was selling "corporate intel(ligence)" to its customers, along with other, unnamed, services, according to a message posted to the Full-Disclosure mailing list by a group or individual using the name "Larry Hobbles."

The group offered the Enterasys Dragon IDS 6.1 source code for US$16,000 and the Napster code for US$10,000, according Kevin Flanagan , an Enterasys spokesman.

On Thursday, the Club's Web site was renamed the "former SCC page," with the group saying it plans to re-emerge, but that it needed to change its business model to ease customers' fears.

"Selling corporate secrets is ... very tricky, and we believe it is an area that we can conquer," the statement read.

Enterasys is working with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate the Club's claims, but company representatives are still not convinced that its product source code was stolen, Flanagan said.

Even if the theft did occur, the company is confident that the code was obtained from "media" such as a computer hard drive or CD, rather than the company's network, Flanagan said.

That opinion is based on a structural analysis of the source code files exhibited on the Club's Web site, he said.

Flanagan could not say how media containing the source code might have leaked, citing an ongoing criminal investigation, but said it was theoretically possible a company developer copied it onto a CD or other portable media "for convenience," even though the company prohibits such copying.

Dragon IDS 6.1 is around one year old, and customers who upgraded to Versions 6.2 and 6.3 were protected, because significant differences in the later versions make it difficult to carry out attacks on the upgrades using the 6.1 code as a model, he said.

Enterasys did not contact "Larry Hobbles" or the Source Code Club. Instead, the company turned directly to law enforcement, Flanagan said.

He declined to speculate on why the Web page was offline, saying only that "people who are doing overtly illegal things have lots of reasons to disappear."

The company will continue to pursue the source code theft, as well as any Source Code Customers who want to benefit from the alleged theft, he said.

Enterasys and Roxio are just the latest companies to contend with the alleged theft of intellectual property from shadowy online criminals.

In May, Cisco Systems Inc. confirmed that it was working with the FBI to investigate source code file thefts from the company's Internetwork Operating System (IOS) after IOS source code files were posted on a Russian Web site, a small piece of what was said to be more than 800 megabytes of code.

In February, Microsoft said it was investigating a source code leak from the Windows NT and Windows 2000 operating systems to P-to-P file sharing networks.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Roberts

IDG News Service
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?