Success is relative. It is what we can make of the mess we have made of things. - T. S. Eliot
Another Gunman Shut Down!
March 6, 2007
CertGuard, the only company on the internet dedicated hunting down the people that devalue your certifications, has pulled through once more. Our efforts at preventing gunmen from taking exams have taken another step in the right direction. We have now thwarted the activities of three gunman-operated websites and five lone gunmen. I just received word this afternoon about our latest shutdown, CertsPlanet.com.
CertsPlanet.com was one of the many gunmen-operated websites on the Internet and was created on Sept 13th, 2006 (info obtained from public WHOIS records) for the sole purpose of taking certification exams for other candidates, candidates with little to no knowledge of the exams being taken. Although the lifespan of the site wasn't very long, they moved up quickly in the ranks as one of the top listed gunmen websites on the Internet. If you would like to learn more about 'gunmen' please refer to the links at the end of this article.
CertsPlanet.com claimed to have taken exams for more than 4,000 candidates, obtaining more than 13,000 certifications. This information, however, is not trustworthy and should in no way be taken as such. In their 6 month existence I would estimate they have completed no more than 100 exams, and of those exams taken, I would also estimate that a small portion of them actually had passing grades. Other information on their site can also be proven to be false, such as the timelines on their main page stating that they offered packages back in June and July of 2006, which is simply untrue since their WHOIS records were created on 9/13/2006.
What brought CertsPlanet.com to the focus of our investigations was not one of our own members trying to entice them into taking exams for us, but on a request by someone that solicited their services, expecting to 'Get Certified at Home'. But when this individual realized that he had been scammed by people that either had no intention of ever taking the exam(s) for him or simply couldn't take the exams due to recent restrictions placed on certain testing centers, he opted to post his message in nearly every IT Certification newsgroup on the Internet. This message was seen by CertGuard, as well as many other NNTP subscribers, and was immediately queued for investigation.
Our investigations revealed that CertsPlanet.com was purportedly located in Bejing, China. I'm still not sure if that information is correct, as there is really no way of knowing the physical location of the business itself without the proper information being published. Their domain host, however, is located in the United States and clearly prohibits illegal activity within their network. Once the domain host was contacted, it was only a matter of days before CertsPlanet.com was placed in a "Suspended" state. Meaning that the website itself is redirected to a generic page within the host's domain and the primary contact of the offending site must contact the domain host in order to resolve the situation.
Thanks to the hard work and thoroughness from research teams at CertGuard and Microsoft, along with the cooperation of CertsPlanet.com's domain host, the CertsPlanet.com gunman service is no longer available. CertGuard is vigorously working day and night in an attempt to shut down all of the other 'gunmen' websites on the Internet. If you know of any such services on the Internet, in your hometown, or anywhere else, please contact us immediately so we can work on stopping them now.
More info on Gunmen:
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