September 30, 2002
Hollywood, Florida Vigilant staffers at MetroGuide.com, Inc. (MetroGuide) and DomainDiscover.com recently uncovered a bizarre twist on Internet piracy. Taking advantage of a brief administrative window, an online entity in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, hacked into DomainDiscover and assumed ownership of several MetroGuide sites, simply by altering ownership documentation that should have been absolutely secure.
Routine but thorough security procedures brought the theft quickly to light. MetroGuide and DomainDiscover worked together to reverse the theft, alert authorities to the perpetrators, and ensure procedures to permanently prevent recurrence.
"MetroGuide and DomainDiscover have been proactive in seeking out Internet piracy and other intellectual property abuses," said Scott Rogers, Esq., MetroGuide vice president. "In addition to improvements to security resulting from this break-in, we are optimistic that we will turn this incident into something positive. This activity is a whole new wrinkle in Internet law."
The first theft took place in July, when the Uzbekistan entity hijacked the site, LodgingGuide.net, when MetroGuide was reworking the registrations of a large group of domains with DomainDiscover. "This outfit hit at just the right moment administratively when it would be possible to perform such a maneuver," said Mark Metz, MetroGuide president. "They wrote themselves in as owners, eliminating us, the rightful owners." Confronted with their crime in July, the Uzbekistan thieves backed off.
A second round of thefts occurred September 10, however, indicating that this was not a one-time error, but deliberate, malicious, and part of a continuing crime. Among the eight addresses absconded in the go-round was hotelguidesales.com, destined to serve a key role as MetroGuide's hotel reservation sales site.
"Anyone who knows anything about MetroGuide and the war we have declared on Internet and digital piracy knows that we are not going to take blatant theft of our intellectual property lying down," Metz concluded.
Incorporated in 1996, MetroGuide today is a continuously-expanding multi-million-dollar contextual commerce site, more than a quarter-million pages that welcome over two million unique visitors monthly. MetroGuide declared war in 2001 on digital pirates, cyber squatters and intellectual property thieves. To date, the firm has won all challenges it has mounted. MetroGuide vice president, attorney Scott Rogers, safeguards the firm and leads the legal charge against Internet thieves.
For information or a press kit, call (954) 981-5850, or visit http://www.metroguide.com