Updated CastleCops, the volunteer security community, has called it a day.
For six years CastleCops campaigned against internet fraud by running malware and phishing scam investigations and take-downs. CastleCops also ran volunteer training programs, as well as maintaining other services including computer virus clean-up assistance to ordinary punters.
Since the organisation was established in 2002, CastleCops has maintained close ties with other members of the anti-malware community and law enforcement to make the internet a cleaner and safer environment. Despite its sterling work in multiple areas, CastleCops has long had problems with funding and hostile actions by cybercriminals. For example, CastleCops has been the target of repeated denial of service attacks as well as attempts by crooks to discredit the site.
Paul Laudanski was the main man behind CastleCops for three years before he took up a full-time job as an internet safety investigator with Microsoft back in June. The failure to replace Laudanski made the announcement that CastleCops was closing sadly predictable, at least in retrospect. The announcement itself (below) took the wider security community a little by surprise.
You have arrived at the CastleCops website, which is currently offline. It has been our pleasure to investigate online crime and volunteer with our virtual family to assist with your computer needs and make the Internet a safer place. Unfortunately, all things come to an end. Keep up the good fight folks, for the spirit of this community lies within each of us. We are empowered to improve the safety and security of the Internet in our own way. Let us feel blessed for the impact we made and the relationships created.
CastleCops pledged to refund donations for its upkeep made through PalPal. Donations to the service made by cheque can't easily be refunded and will be passed onto the Internet Software Consortium (not the Internet Storm Centre as we initially incorrectly reported) by the middle of March, unless instructions to the contrary are received. ®