Attack on my software forum - reason PFF was closed for a while (Page 1/19)
Cliff Pennock FEB 08, 11:21 AM
Instead of retyping everything I had put in my "closed" message, I just did a Copy & Paste:

February 8, 3:00am EST:

For now, the forums are closed! They will open again in a few hours.

Ok, apparently some people of "RealFIeroTech" have found my business forum here:

and have messed it up completely. Also, they apparently PM'd every single member on that forum (my clients) with some story on how I'm a fraud and the software I'm selling is stolen or something to that effect.

You know, I don't really care that these people have a problem with me and PFF, but this is directly affecting my business and me, and most importantly the future of my child. In short, I am not amused at all by this and I will not simply laugh this one off.

It will take some time to clean this one up and it the meantime, I will need to close PFF so I actually have the time to do it.

And to the ones who are responsible for this: This no longer is a simple internet quarrel. You have decided to take it a step further. I will take every legal effort to make sure you pay for this.

February 8, 4:15am EST:

I had a doctor's appointment this morning and I was in a hurry writing the above. The trip to the doctor's office gave me some time to think about this and to decide my next step. I will explain in a bit what I have decided. But first things first. Let me explain what has happened so far.

The first thing I do every morning when I wake up, is check my email and the PM's on PFF. I had received this message from a member of PFF. Apparently it's a log of a conversation through AIM (until he tells me it's ok, I have removed his screen name):

AaronZ34: we own cliff
[removed]: ?
AaronZ34: check this out
AaronZ34: cliff penncoks new forum
AaronZ34: have a look at a few threads...
[removed]: dont get it
[removed]: what is it?
[removed]: a hidden forum he had?
AaronZ34: no, its a new forum he started for his software **** , notice the spamming...
[removed]: u need an xbox
AaronZ34: lol
[removed]: or somthing better to do with ur time
AaronZ34: HAHAHA
AaronZ34: It was Stuart, Shaun, Product, and I
AaronZ34: We replied to EVERY post on his forum with
AaronZ34: With a story on how his software was frauded from other ceators
AaronZ34: we owned him
[removed]: is it fraud?
AaronZ34: the hell if i know
[removed]: so ur just trying to be dicks?
AaronZ34: bingo
AaronZ34: not trying---we ARE!
[removed]: thats ****ed up
AaronZ34: lol

BTW, this is not a new nor hidden forum. It's been there for years and it's the support forum for some of the products I sell.

So I check it out and by clicking on the link in my previous message, you can see what they did.

Apparently, the ones responsible for this thinks they "owned" me. For now this is true because they managed to really piss me off and they actually done quite some damage. Damage that will take some time to correct. Not only damage to my software forum, but real financial damage. This is going to hurt me in my wallet.

But let me tell you: once I'm done with this, I will have given a whole new meaning to the word "owned". Why? Let me tell you what I've decided what my response to this will be.

First of all, I'm sure the ones responsible for this have thought they could get away with this because:

  1. I'm in the Netherlands and not in the USA.
  2. I don't have the time to fully persue this
  3. I don't have the funds to fully persue this
  4. I don't have the will to fully persue this

And quess what? They are absolutely 100% right. And that's why for the first time in the existence of PFF, I will call in the help of the 13,000+ members of PFF. I'm sure there are many members that are working in the internet business, and if I supply them with ip-addresses, they can find out where the messages are posted from, and perhaps even get the information from the ISP who these persons actually are. I'm also pretty sure that some members on the forum know exactly what legal action can be taken against these people. And how. And last but not least, I'm sure that if I open a seperate PayPal account for this, people will gladly donate money to cover the costs of any lawyer needed.

You see, once this is out of my hands, it doesn't matter whether ot not I have the time, the funds, or the will to persue this. Because I'm sure there will always be at least a few others that do.

Am I serious? Yes, I'm dead serious. Like I said, the people responsible for this have decided to take this one step further. And that one step is one step too far.

I will eventually open the forum again and will copy the contents of this page to a new thread. And we'll continue from there. I will openly discuss everything: the ip-addresses I have found in my logs. The names of people I have found that are connected to these ip-addresses. The ISP's from these persons (I already saw that one IP-address leads to Oklahoma State university address. I'm sure they will not be happy once they find out their computers have been used for illegal practices by one of their students. I wonder what their action will be against this person).

So you think you owned me? Wait till I'm done with you.

February 8, 6:25am EST:

This is the PM they have been sending to everyone on my software support forum:

My name is Aaron, and Cliff ripped off my software. I created at least 2 programs he has here, and he took my code, removed the copyright, and is using it as his own.

The law won't let me do anything since he is in the Netherlands.

Please do not support him, or this site. He is a FRAUD!!!

So far, I have found these IP addresses of the persons responsible (username in parenthesis):


Even though it's night in the US, I have already received lots of email from people supporting me. A lot of people also already want to donate money to the cause.

Please do not use my regular PayPal to donate money for this cause! I will open a seperate account for this. The reason is simple. I want to make absolutely sure that people don't think I am taking this opportunity to make a quick buck. I will not take a single dollar of the money donated for this specific cause. If for some reason I decide to no longer persue this, I will either refund the money donated (minus PayPal fees) or if you so desire, donate the money to a charity.

Some people also told me I should just shrug my shoulders and go on and shouldn't give these kids the satisfaction of the attention they are now getting. To those: I'm sorry but I can't. My software business is my primary source of income and PFF is partly funded by this. And this kind of crap needs to stop now. You know, I've shrugged my shoulders when I received threats by email. I shrugged my shoulders when they PhotoShopped pictures of my wife and me. I shrugged my shoulders after they attempted to hack my server. But like I said, they've gone too far now. And I will not leave it at that.

February 8, 7:15am EST:

I've cross referenced the above ip-addresses with usernames on my forum. The below usernames have posted messages through those ip-addresses: AaronZ34, FieroRush88 FieroGuy9890

Now except for the obvious (AaronZ34), the other users might actually have nothing to do with this latest attack. Dynamic IP addresses are re-used over time so people get the ip-address that has been used by someone else previously.

PS: Even though you see the username "84fierotrevor" a few times on my software forum, he's not one of the persons that messed up the forum. He's actually trying to help me with this. Thanks Trevor!

February 8, 7:55am EST:

People told me I shouldn't worry about the PM thing since hardly anyone checks their PM's in such a sort time. Problem is that my software forum sends a copy of the PM to the email address of the recipient, so every single member of my support forums has received the message already...

Oh, and I just read the PM's I received on my software support forums:

From: product1620


p.s. DIAF!

pps, east coast nukkka!

And this one:

From: WildHorsey69

I OWN you. Oh but do you like my horsey?

And the last:

From: Aaron2.Hate

And oh yah, I **** OWN you.

February 8, 11:25am EST:

It's only 3:25pm here and I've already spent 8 hours on this crap. I've confirmed the IP used by Aaron2.hate is indeed from the person posting as "AaronZ34" on several other forums. I also now have his real name, home address and telephone number. That makes it a lot easier for the lawyer.

A lot of people have asked me if this is the end of PFF. No, it's absolutely not. I've just closed the forum temporarily because I wasn't sure this morning if they were going to target PFF as well. I also needed some resources to create backup of my log files and all in all, it would save me a lot of trouble if I just closed PFF for a while. Don't worry, PFF will be open again real soon. I'm almost done collecting all data needed from my server.

Also I would like to thank everybody who has shown their support in this!

February 8, 12:07pm EST:

Know your adversary they say. Meet Aaron O.:

[Edited by Cliff Pennock: "Removed image of 'alleged' perpetrator"]

In the mean time, I've been busy answering emails from clients that had read their PM and were asking questions about it. That means I didn't have the time to answer the many emails I got from PFF members. I truly apologize to them and will answer all your emails shortly.

February 8, 12:15pm EST:

I just found out it's actually possible to sue the persons responsible for this. Many people emailed me I could sue them because hacking is a crime. But there was no hacking involved. This was a public forum and anybody can sign up and post messages. I can sue them however for "defamation of character" and "punitive damages". As soon as I have log files from the ISPs where they posted their messages from, and the ISP confirms the identity of these persons, I have a case.
Hey Cliff,
First off, it sucks that there are guys like this out there that just like to rip people off for no good reason.
Secondly, props to you for standing your ground!!!
Thirdly, I have a business of my own, and when it turns from a few giggles, to ruining someones livelyhood, that crosses the line.
I am hopeful that these clowns get your point, and that they are punished for causing this mayhem!!!!
Don't let these guys get the best of you, and we do appreciate all you do for the Fiero Fanatics out there!!!!!
Good luck catching these guys!
Brian Lamberts FEB 08, 11:30 AM
Sorry for your troubles, Cliff.

Actually, in the US, it's felony to hack into computers. I don't know the law or how to get a prosecution going, but the attack sounds like it was pretty unsophisticated, so it shouldn't be too difficult to get a prosecution going. Getting busted on a federal computer crime is gonna ruin the guy financially and could put a felony conviction on his record--that's the way I'd go.

I'm glad the forum is back up and running. It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) you've got friends--lots of them.
87GT_97114 FEB 08, 11:31 AM
I'm in for a few bucks into a legal defense/prosecution fund at Payplal. Git 'er done boss!


'85 Indy clone 4.9
'78 Toyota longbed, parts runner
'89 Bonneville daily driver
'87 30' Kit Classic TT, living in it.

[This message has been edited by 87GT_97114 (edited 02-08-2007).]

Cliff Pennock FEB 08, 11:39 AM
Thanks to everyone who has shown their support so far.

Like I said, I'm dead serious about persuing this. And I will not pretend I can do this alone and that's why I call in the help of anyone reading this.

As I understand so far from the people who have been emailing me, I have a very good legal case against the persons responsible for this. Even though there was no hacking involved, I can sue for "defamation of character" and "punitive damages".

But first things first. I already have backups from my logs which clearly shows the ip addresses of the people who did this. Next step is to get the ISP's to give up (parts) of their logs and to make them confirm the identity of the poster. I've already mailed "Oklohoma State University" but I'd rather have it someone would call them. My english is good, but perhaps it would be better if a true english speaking person calls them. Now before half the forum starts calling them, let's first pick a person who wants to give them a call - explain what has happened and how I need to proceed from here.

Or maybe someone else has any ideas how to proceed from here? Do I need to find a lawyer first? Or should I first concentrate on getting the "proof"?
tesmith66 FEB 08, 11:39 AM
Let us know what you need. This has gone from zero to stupid in a short time, so I am all for stringin' those varmits up. Make the dumbasses pay for being stupid. Attacking someone's business (and livelyhood) for no valid reason is so not good...

1986 SE 350 V8

RWDPLZ FEB 08, 11:54 AM
My University's website is set up similar to Oklahoma University's, once I had his name is was only a matter of finding the directory. Let's learn more about our hacker wannabe:

[Address removed by cliff: "I want this guy sued - not molested"]

Oh the fun I can have with this information

Email his school's tech department and tell them exactly what he did, and the action you plan to take. They will probably suspend his internet access at the very least, probably have to pay some fine, MAYBE even get his expelled

From the University's computer use policy:


Under existing law, any person who maliciously accesses, alters, deletes, damages or destroys any computer system, network, computer program or data may be charged with a felony.
The University also requires that members of its community act in accordance with these responsibilities,


J. Conduct Expectations and Prohibited Actions
Examples of misuse include, but are not limited to:
-Using computers or electronic mail to act abusively toward others or to create a hostile environment, violent reaction, such as stalking, threats of violence, or other hostile or intimidating "fighting words."
-Posting on electronic bulletin boards or web pages materials that violate the University's codes of conduct (faculty, student). This includes posting information that is slanderous or defamatory in nature or displaying graphically disturbing or sexually harassing images or text in a public computer facility or location that are in view of other individuals.
-Attempting to monitor or tamper with another user's electronic communications or reading, copying, changing, or deleting another user's files or software without the explicit agreement of the owner.
-Using campus networks to gain, or attempt to gain, unauthorized access to any computer system.
-Performing an act without authorization that will interfere with the normal operation of computers, terminals, peripherals, networks, or will interfere with others' ability to make use of the resources.

Hmm I think he violated a FEW of these?


K. Systems Security Officer
The university's (SSO) or the person designated by the Assistant Vice President of CIS, shall be the primary contact to work in conjunction with appropriate university officials for the interpretation, enforcement and monitoring of this policy and the resolution of problems concerning it. Any issues concerning law shall be referred to OSU Legal Counsel for advice and action as applicable.

In situations that are an immediate threat to the security or operation of a computer or network, the SSO may require immediate intervention of access privileges and affected user files or messages. In such an emergency, the SSO will notify, as soon as possible, the appropriate university administrators and users affected by the situation.

L. Consequences of Misuse Misuse of computing, networking, or information is unacceptable, and users will be held accountable for their conduct. Serious infractions can result in temporary or permanent loss of computing and/or network privileges and/or Federal or State legal prosecution. Appropriate corrective action or discipline may be taken in conformance with applicable personnel policies and student policies. Some computer abuses are a crime, (such as illegal reproduction of software protected by U. S. copyright law) and penalties can include a fine and/or imprisonment.

Abuse of computing privileges is subject to disciplinary action, including termination of employment. If system administrators have strong evidence of misuse of computing resources, and if that evidence points to the computing activities or the computer files of an individual, they have the obligation to pursue any or all of the following steps to protect the user community:

Notify the SSO.

Notify appropriate departmental administrators

The SSO :
Will notify the user's instructor, department or division chair, or supervisor of the investigation, when appropriate.

May suspend or restrict the user's computing privileges during the investigation.

May inspect the user's files, diskettes, tapes, and/or other computer-accessible storage media.

Will refer issues, when appropriate, to the appropriate University department for possible disciplinary action, i.e., this may include but not be limited to the Office of the Assistant Vice President of Computing and Information Services, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, the unit administrator for staff, and the Dean of the School for faculty.
Users, when requested, are expected to fully cooperate with system administrators or the SSO in any investigations of system abuse. Failure to cooperate may be grounds for cancellation of access privileges or disciplinary action, including dismissal.

When individual privileges to access University computing resources have been suspended, a user may request that the Assistant Vice President of Computing and Information Services, or his/her designee, review the suspension. The Assistant Vice President of Computing and Information Services, or designee, in his/her discretion, may reinstate privileges, alter any restrictions that have been imposed, or refuse to interfere with the administrative action taken to that time. Further appeals may be filed with the Office of Student Conduct, the University Personnel Office, or the Chair of the Faculty Council, as appropriate.

Failure to comply with these policies, rules and regulations may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. Any violation of local, state or federal laws may carry the additional consequence of prosecution under the law, where judicial action may result in specific fines or imprisonment, or both; plus the costs of litigation or the payment of damages or both; or all.

Let me know when you get that Paypal account set up.


1984 Fiero SE
tjm4fun FEB 08, 11:55 AM
be sure that you have the timestamp log associated with the ip's used. the isp will need that to confirm who had that address at the time of the events. most people keep the same ip's for months at a time, but not all isp'swill do that, they assign a new one on every connect.
count me in if you need some $$ in paypal, we have had issues with someone similar in my home forum, and you do have legal recourse, both criminal and monetary.
Notifying the isp's security departments for each of those isp's should get you started, then supplying logs and the forum entries for proof.
Those actions violate most isp's TOS for harmful activities, so they will likely lose their access at the least.
Deabionni FEB 08, 11:59 AM
Glad to see the forums are back up!

You might be able to sue them for libel, as well.

li·bel (lī'bəl) pronunciation
1. A false publication, as in writing, print, signs, or pictures, that damages a person's reputation
2. The act of presenting such material to the public.
3. The written claims presented by a plaintiff in an action at admiralty law or to an ecclesiastical court.

Go get 'em, Cliff!!! We'll help you out however we can.
Slater_334 FEB 08, 12:01 PM
Hey cliff. Sorry they have nothing better to do than try and make your life hard. I hope things work out the way you want them to.