America's Most Wanted host John Walsh urged his viewers on Saturday night
to help "take down" those responsible for the distributed denial of
service (DDoS) attacks which briefly crippled numerous high-profile Web
sites back in February. 

The low-brow crime-busters show from Fox Television draws a large audience
with its melodramatic and bloody crime re-enactments and psychobabbling
criminal profiles. Walsh has even taken to the gimmick of introducing
segments from within a moving helicopter to cultivate the illusion of his
immediate response to the pleas of frustrated policemen throughout the

This weekend's show included a typically overblown segment on cyber
terrorism, during which Walsh fretted about fifteen-year-old DDoS suspect
Mafiaboy while treating viewers to images of violently flattened buildings
and a tank firing its gun in a (presumably Middle-Eastern) desert. 

"Tonight let's take down some cyber terrorists," Walsh urged, and gave an
account of the devastating ruin caused by the DDoS attacks. 

The show's viewers are constantly reminded to rat on their neighbours by
phoning tips via a toll-free line. "The FBI believes the [DDoS] hackers
are bragging in chat rooms, so the same tool they use to attack may be the
key to catching them," Walsh said. 

The Register was not aware that IRC and Instant Messenger have the
potential to launch retaliatory DDoS attacks. We learn something new every

Walsh also interviewed FBI Director Louis Freeh, who struggled visibly to
maintain an air of dignity in spite of the situation, and NIPC Director
Michel Vatis, whose demeanour towards Walsh was a good deal more indulgent
and affable. Both men repeated their core messages regarding the
devastating potential of cyber crime, which we have reported ad nauseum,
so we'll just spare our readers another re-hash today.

Most interestingly, an AMW spokesman interviewed by said
that the show's Web site went off-line following the broadcast, though he
couldn't explain why. "Maybe those hackers decided to punish us," he is
quoted as saying.

Of course it could be a coincidence, but if not it will undoubtedly
convince the programme's producers that malicious Script Kiddies really
are in a league with Timothy McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden, a conviction
towards which they already show strong inclinations