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Gunmen Domain Hosts

Written by
Robert Williams
March 14, 2007

For those of you that don't know, Gunmen are the people that you see blatantly advertise their services in most of the Public NNTP NewsGroups. They're also known as Hired Guns, or Proxy Exam Takers. Their services include taking exams for other people and stealing your money.

Gunman services in the United States won't make very much money, that's one reason you rarely find an exam gunman in the United States. However, in countries like India and China, Gunman services are huge. It's a way of life for many of them. China for instance, the average household income is roughly $650 per year (yes, YEAR) . Do the math:

1 Chinese yuan = 0.129133899 U.S. dollars

This page shows the Per Capita Annual Income of Urban and Rural Households and the Related Index
For the year 2000:
Rural = 2253.4 yuan = $290.99 USD
Urban= 6280.0 yuan = $810.96 USD
Add 'em up ($290.99 + $810.96 = $1101.95 ) and divide by 2 ($1101.95 / 2 = $550.97)

With inflation and the rise in salaries since the year 2000, I'm estimating around $650. It may be high, it may be low, but the point is this: In a country where the Average Annual Income is roughly 1/70th ours here in the United States, these gunmen are making a KILLING, these guys are living like kings.

Here's a breakdown:
In the United States, we know the Microsoft Certification Exams cost us $125 USD (subtract discounts where applicable). In Countries like China and India, those same exams only cost, the equivalent of, $50 USD. With the 20% discount that they ALWAYS take advantage of, that lowers their exam cost to $40 USD per exam.

Their gunman services usually run anywhere from $250 to $500 per exam, PER EXAM. Just two exams and they've already made their annual income, sometimes double that. Now, multiply that by the number of exams they take per day, or per week, or even per month. They've now made enough money to live like Bill Gates does here, in just a year's time.

The reason we're trying to shut down these gunmen is not because of the money. Everyone deserves to make money, but for christ's sake, do it legally. Teach people, help others make money, do something besides screw the IT Industry with it.

Although we are trying to shutdown every Gunman Website we find, some are more difficult than others, and the sites that we are getting shut down seem to be resurfacing after a few months. So, what can we do about them? Is there a way to permanently keep them from promoting their illegal services to the unsuspecting, less knowledgeable, people in the IT Industry?

I started CertGuard for this very reason, to stop gunmen from taking proxy exams. These people are the lowlifes that are causing the value of your certifications to drop faster than ever and they need to be stopped.

The main problem we've been running into lately is that the Gunmen have been finding Domain Hosting companies in their own countries. When the hosting company was US based it was much easier to just notify the host and have the gunman site shut down. Now, however, it has become more and more difficult to even reach the hosting companies because of the international boundaries.

Can legal action be taken on international companies?

Do Cease & Desist Orders pull any weight in countries abroad?

Does anyone know of a good source for answers to these questions?
Robert Williams
CEO, Founder
CertGuard, Inc.
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Danny (aka Adebisi) left us a comment on 3/17/2007

Well, as far as prevention and enforcement, it is pretty much impossible. Computer criminals of all kinds take full advantage of their 3rd world country's position to get away with what they could not here. If you are in, say... Africa, and your government is busy keeping tribe A from killing tribe B, and Tribe C from exporting diamonds illegally to country X, you are not going to have the resources to track down spammer X, internet crime guy Y, and phishing server Z.

Not only are the police services in many of these countries completely overtaxed handling domestic issues such as homicide, rape, etc... (things that generaly take precedance over some American cheating on his A+ exam), they also completely lack computer knowledge, internet knowledge, and any kind of understanding about how the crimes work. Compounding that, the laws in these countries preventing such behaviour simply do not exist in many cases.

These criminals are organized and they pick areas where one, or all of these conditions exist. They know they are virtually immune to any form of legal reprisal. Goodluck trying to sue someone in Namibia when they can just vanish...

They will continue to operate in these areas, for likely decades. There are documented cases of entire villages depending upon phishing scams for their economy...

The only thing you can do is educate consumers to take defensive measures. As any computer tech knows, you can nail a manual to someones forehead and they will not read it. So it is not likely most people are going to become educated and alert for potential risks to their computer, their identity, etc...

I admire what you folks at CertGuard are trying to do. At least you create an atmosphere encouraging people to do things honestly, when cheating is oh so easy today. But I do think "brain dumps" and any other civil, or criminal, breach of crime currently being committed will be committed with impunity for decades to come, and we will likely continue to see increasing ways for these hucksters to make a living.

Danny (aka Adebisi)
Danny's Computer Services
Admin of Professional PC Techs (Google Group actively recruiting)

Robert Williams left us a comment on 3/25/2007
Danny, thanks for sharing your thoughts, I apologize for not getting to this sooner.

When I was growing up, my parents instilled in me the ideology that 'Nothing is Impossible'. Growing up, I've realized that there are some things that are virtually impossible, but only when you let your mind give up on it. I agree that wiping these braindump providers out completely may be virtually impossible, but as granny always said 'There's more than one way to skin a coon.'

In the last year or so, I have learned quite a bit about these braindump companies (TestKing, Actual Exam, etc). One thing I've learned is that they strive on the certification newbies (n00bs). N00bs are the people keeping these companies alive because they are naturally going to be more naive than people that have actually spent time in the industry and they are genuinely open to more ideas than those of us that have seen the mistakes that our peers have made. Those are the people that we are trying to reach before the braindump companies can get to them.

Back to 'skinning the coon'. Although we have very little influence on the braindump companies that are owned and operated in countries abroad, such as China, Pakistan, and India, we do have an influence over the people that use their services. If we can reach these people first and help them not only make the right decisions in choosing their career paths but help them also find better ways of studying, then we can cause the braindump companies to shutdown without even touching them.

I'm sure that the brain dump companies will continue to operate for as long as they can, but as long as they're 'on the run', then we've got them in a pickle. Eventually, they will run out of domain hosts and they will soon find themselves bleeding from every orifice that [$deity] has given them.

Thanks for your input and thanks for your support.





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