Coincidence? I Think Not
For the past two years there has been a very colorful website up about me created by a Doxxer & Script Kiddy that really isn’t much of a Doxxer or a Script Kiddy.
This started out in retaliation to something. The subject never made their motive apparent. It can only be speculated that it was either for political purposes or because I was a loud critic of a game that they were a fanboi of.
I was first notified of the site by text message sent anonymously from the subject. Upon checking it out, I was almost in shock. Who or why? Not only that but there was only shreds of truth, the rest were obvious untruths that could be verified with only minutes of research.
The primary claim on the website was that I am a sex offender. That simply is not true. Since being a teenager and doing teenager stuff, I haven’t been in trouble with the law — ever.
But who am I? I’m a country boy brought up on a farm in a small town with not much to do but drink and get in trouble as with most others at my age. I received my Eagle Scout rank in 1999 and graduated high school in 2000 where I immediately enlisted in the United States Army. That was a little tough, actually. I originally picked the job “98K” or Satellite Intelligence which required a Top Secret Clearance and required me to prepare a questionnaire for the NSA to be delivered on a Saturday (to which they were closed). Upon delivery the following Monday, that job was no longer available. I was offered a “next best” job of “74G” or Telecommunications Information Systems Administrator, Maintainer, and Operator (or in civilian terms, Network Administrator). This also required a Top Secret Clearance and I had my packet in-hand.
That is what I went in for. I took basic in Fort Jackson (or Relax in Jackson) and AIT in Ft Gordon Georgia where I met my wife. My military career was sterling. I was discharged honorably in 2004 and almost immediately awarded service connected disability from the VA just by attempting to have them continue treatment from an injury in Afghanistan.
After the Army, I went from job to job. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why I could only stay employed for 3 months at the time. I just figured that something about me had changed and maybe it was time to go at it alone. Using some of the college I had taken in the US Army, I started up my Montgomery GI Bill with the help of the VA (this is something you pay into while you are in the military), and I continued my education, built contacts, and started MLW & Associates as a DBA of myself.
For a year it was rough – like Ramen every night rough. But in 2007, we got our first break, an international resort booking agency (Activities Ireland). With that came a network of contacts, Sunshine Grancanaria (Des’s network of contacts), Aran Sweaters, Colgan Sports (Adrian’s network of contacts), and so-on. In 2011, the company was taken out of my name and made a LLC with my wife and I being the officers of the company and putting only $1.00 into the company (which means that’s all we would be liable for). It was simply a liability that I didn’t want personally if the worst happened.
From here the company grew exponentially, far beyond my expectations but still not enough to warrant an office building or any of the overhead costs that most companies have. For the most part, the company ran from my living room with 4 kids in the background of my calls.
My wife went to school for accounting and taxes so she could help keep the IRS off of my backside and then we discovered a startling revelation. Did you know the government pays companies to employ veterans for 3 months? That was my “ah-ha” moment. That was the moment I realized that the only reason I had been hired is for the really nice $10,000 check the government sends to companies after hiring a disabled veteran. But the past was in the past, yet it was somehow relieving to know that these companies had motive to hire me for 3 months and then suddenly fire me with little to no reason at all ( *cough* ExeCom Computers and Inttek *cough* )
We began to then focus our efforts locally. I began to pick up local clients in and around Wayne County, including Molton Flooring. That also brought in a network of contacts, more than the previous. We were now “comfortable” and thinking about the purchase or rental of office space. But still, I wanted at least $100,000 sitting in the bank before we committed to that.
Then along comes our friendly neighborhood Script Kiddy. The website was created and our networks began to get DDOSed, out of the blue, with no apparent reason. I struggled to mitigate the first few DDOS’s, and I was successful as the DDOS’s became less in magnitude but was still choking our bandwidth and our data centers bandwidth.
You know that story and how Net Neutrality played such a large role in aiding this person in keeping our networks down and forcing us to move our data to another data center with DDOS scrubbing capabilities, which by the way, the costs are astronomical.
But it was once I began to make appearances on the news, and was in photo ops for my senator as the reason to repeal net neutrality everything stopped. The website seemed to have been abandoned, and even friends and customers that this guy was harassing started to report that they haven’t heard anything.
My best guess is that a few things could have happened here. First, it is entirely possible he saw one of the interviews on national news, or it is possible he saw the bill introduced for the reform as the “Wells Bill” and realized, suddenly, that his efforts were entirely in vein. Or maybe someone in his country finally arrested him for something he did to someone else. It’s guess work really, but I really do hope he got to see me on the news talking about him and the reporters revealing who I really am as total vindication against his website.
But just last week I laughed. I couldn’t help it. I checked our friendly neighborhood script kiddy’s website and I found this:
I don’t speak Dutch, so I had to run this through a translator and I found that his own website was so insecure, his provider had taken his servers offline. CSFR which in Dutch stands for Cross Site Request Forgery. I couldn’t help but to find humor in this. For almost 3 months he was contacting our customers and telling them about all of the exploits our servers had, how I didn’t know anything about security which he claimed his successful DDOS’s were evidence of (actually it was not, DDOS means you can’t break in so the only vector you have to disrupt business is to deny access to an information system). All of which were lies of course. Now, that isn’t to say there wasn’t a shred of truth in what he said, there was. Some customers had older websites that had to be placed on older versions of PHP. But in this Script Kiddy’s limited knowledge, he didn’t realize that a server can run multiple, secured versions of PHP that is isolated to the user’s account and does not globally affect the server which means that we could account for these securing vulnerabilities and patch the website instead of upgrading their version of PHP and having to completely re-write it.
So, there were no unaddressed security issues — that’s the short version.
There was a lot we have gone through in this endeavor. Firstly, my kids were harassed at school over this. In one case, my oldest son decked 2 of the kids picking on him and eventually was pardoned after the principal stated it was because of an online bullying effort. My kids were not harassed after that point. This is the point in which we brought the Sheriff’s Department and FBI into this matter as well as Mr Harry Lorello, our company Attorney.
All of the agencies were working rather tirelessly to pin down the source and go after him with the full force of the law until mysteriously the website almost seemed abandoned. Whether they were closing in on him or one of his other activities got him placed in the Gulag, I don’t know. But, it would seem that he would know about auto-updates for WordPress (which his site is built on) and could keep cross site scripting disabled with a simple custom plugin.
The subject did make a lot of claims that were plain false. I’ll list some of them here and explain.
HE IS A SEXUAL PREDATOR
Negative. I know what the word “no” means, besides I’ve been rather faithful to my wife for over 16 years and it is she that sometimes misunderstands the word “no” (especially during a pregnancy, but I found pregnant women are a bit vicious in bed). But I’m okay with that because I’m under the firm belief a male can’t be raped by a female, it is physiologically impossible because you don’t get an erection unless you’re turned on or taking too much Viagra or have morning wood. Other than that a simple criminal records search for me shows that this is not the case. In fact I just moved to a neighborhood that requires a rather extensive criminal background check (Princeton, NC) before you move here, and guess what? Clean! Besides, I imagine that if I ever became that much embroiled with the law, the NSA would be very unhappy being someone that was exposed to some of this nation’s most sensitive secrets for 4 years.
HE RAPED HIS SON
That’s just retarded. Firstly I don’t swing that way, and secondly I don’t swing that way. I literally have performance issues looking at my own penis during sex. There is no way I could be aroused by another penis, much less my own son’s. Physically, and this can be tested, this is impossible.
HIS COMPANY IS RUN ENTIRELY FROM HIS HOME
Actually – true! But it is misleading because with the claim he said that I was the only employee. A simple search on the secretary of state’s website for my LLC shows that there are 2 managers for the company. Yes, it is true that everyone telecommutes, but there is most certainly more than one employee.
This is actually my work-from-home office space (even though we now have a real office), currently. I wanted to put this here because I think it may help the effect when we get to the “poor” bit below.
HE STEALS HIS DESIGNS AND COMMITS COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENTS
Liar, liar, pants on fire. The designs we use are all GPLv3. That is considered “public domain”. That means you can never steal it or commit a copyright infringement. However, the statement was made because he claimed we removed the framework owner’s copyrights from the theme.css file. We did not. Even in his own screenshot which was posted on my site shows that the origional copyright information is still very much in tact. Now, it is true that any additional css we add (usually to a file named extended-theme.css) we do not include the origional copyright, but the GPLv3 says that this is entirely a valid and ethical practice.
Of course, another argument was that we sold our customers free themes. This is true, but again misleading as most of our customers already know. We use free frameworks — that is themes that allow for a certain level of customization, usually to the point it makes the website unique, and if not, then that’s most certainly what the customer paid for. One of these customers was Eastern Office Furniture which had a low budget for her website but wanted something functional and on Google. The solution was an existing GPL theme with minimal work to make it her own. That’s what we did. We even customized the header a little and designed her a LOGO in adobe illustrator modeled on the customer sitting at a round table in her office.
It needs to be highlighted and noted at this point that he emailed Wanda, the owner of the Eastern Office Furniture website and told her specifically (from Wanda’s words), “Your website is a free theme, you were ripped off by Michael Wells. What he did was illegal. You should press charges.”
To which she simply replied, “No I wasn’t, I asked him to do that. I guess it is I would should be arrested then if it is really illegal. But I trust my company’s lawyer more than I do a random person on the internet. What is your point? What is your goal with emailing me?”
He never emailed her back but kept his libelous post front-and-center on his website regardless. The point here is to demonstrate that his website was anything but a measure to expose a truth. It had one purpose, and one purpose only – to attack me whether with truth or as big of a lie as could be believed by those whom willingly trust what they read online.
I’m not going to disclose what the customer paid for the website, but I can guarantee you this, you will not find anyone else in this area that will offer the same price or lower for what we did, that’s a fact.
So, in the strictest terms, we do use free themes if that’s what a customer pays for, but a customer knows very well that’s what they’re paying for and they’re given a copy of the origional theme as the GPLv3 mandates.
Regardless of his claims, we are and always have been very “by the book” and very transparent to our customers.
HE IS A FAKE VETERAN (STOLEN VALOR)
This is a heavy charge. For me, personally, besides the kids thing, this is the most severe. But, it was still like water on a ducks back because you would really have a hard time convincing First Sergeant Rovell Berry of this. Both he and I went in together along with a few others to include Michael Adams and even a Foreign National King Gale. I mean, there are 3 people I served with right there who knew me very, very well as well as my wife. You can click and ask and I have many more names. All of those names laughed after reading the website (almost to the point of tears) and came to my defense on social media when others tried to reference that website.
Rovell Berry, Active Duty US Army
If he is a Stolen Valor, then so am I. I served with him and his wife, Kimberly, or as I knew them ‘PFC Wyatt’ and ‘SPC Wells’.
Also, the VA and St Louis would disagree. I wonder why the VA would be paying me Comp Benefits to my bank account every month if this were the case. You know why the VA pays, right? Because you were injured in the line of duty. And they only pay this much when you got a injury that limits your ability to live a full life by 50%.
Also USAA has a copy of my DD214 (contrary to the fake news on Facebook, this is not a firearm, but your “service record in a nutshell“) and addresses me as “Sergeant Wells” when they call, or I call.
But was I in combat? Well, there is only one way to get a scar like this.
HE IS A SOCIOPATH/PSYCHOPATH/LIAR
There was a bunch of those, but just to be short about it. If that were the case, I’m sure my wife would know after 16 years of marriage. It’s true, I can embellish a little sometimes, but most of what I say is about 99.9% truth. Usually if I say something false, it is out of ignorance rather than an intentional lie (or I’m trolling).
Sociopath? Oh no. I don’t think so. I have a dog and 4 kids. Find me a sociopath that has creatures he must take care of that offer him absolutely no immediate benefit. What little I know of sociopaths, this is a near impossibility. Also, I’m quite susceptible to the contagious effect of a yawn which Sociopaths aren’t (as it is an act of empathy for it to be contagious).
There is someone else that would disagree with the script kiddy. His name is Shadow.
Psychopath? Maybe. The Army did teach me not to give a fuck, so there may be some merit here. But if I’m a psychopath because of US Army training and deployments, then there are a lot of psychopaths out there that call themselves US Army Veterans (and likely Coprsman Veterans too).
A FAT ****ER
It’s true, in 2016, oh buddy, I was fat, like 372 lbs fat. At the time of him saying this, I was between 260lbs and 280lbs — still fat. But today, I’m now only about 30lbs from my target weight. I’m 228lbs. My target weight is between 180 and 190 lbs. In the US Army, I was 193lbs with only a 7% BFC index. That means I had a 6 pack. In fact a winter coat I bought in January of 2018 that was skin tight can fit 2 of me in it now. A belt I bought 2 tweeks ago with 4 notches is now at it’s last notch. Every pound I drop now seems to drop a notch off my belt (which reminds me, I need to find a new belt).
Who would have known that a water diet would be so effective (that means I’ve cut 100% of soft drinks, juices, and such from my diet and only drink water (filtered) and the occasional power aide for electrolytes).
But, this goes to show how stubborn a vet can be. If I want to drop 100lbs, I’ll do it. If I want to drop 150lbs, I’ll do it.
I think it’s fairly clear that no one should call someone fat. That’s a very, very temporary adjective. I proved it. I even tried to tell the guy at the time, “I’m losing weight”. To which he simply replied, “Yeah, right.”
I guess it is he who looks ignorant now.
Just on a side note. Besides having to buy new clothes, there is a downfall to losing weight. Gaming is painful. Sitting in any chair for longer than an hour or two without the padding I used to have on my ass is quite painful.
NO INCOME/POOR/LIVES IN SQUALOR
I don’t know why, really, but that was one of his claims. I guess he tried to Google Map my house and found a neighbor and thought I lived in a single-wide or something. HA HA! I did try to tell him if he didn’t see a Dodge Durango in the driveway (since been totaled by my wife) that he was on the wrong house. Yep, I’m a Dodge Fanboi.
But how am I doing financially? As it turns out, quite well, actually.
See the fat segment above to see some of the interior of this new toy of mine. Anyone that knows anything about financing knows that a vehicle of that price tag can’t be financed by someone barely making ends meet, by law. Payments, obviously greater than $600 for 5 years, has to be less than 20% of your income, by law and can’t be more than 30% of your “free income” (ie, spending money after bills and taxes).
My question was always, why? It’s a simple question that has a lot of questions attached to it. Why target me? What did I do? But ultimately, why would anyone believe an anonymous guy that is hell bent on keeping his own identity secret?
Maybe now anyone reading this can see the level of lies this Doxxer posted. In reality, a Doxxer is supposed to expose a bad person who is masquerading as someone important online or to expose the identity of someone. In reality, he exposed very little of my identity that wasn’t already publicly available. My address was on my website, so was my phone number. The fact I had 4 kids was also public information and my political beliefs were very much public on this website as well.
You can also now see that he wasn’t much of a security expert either. By means of his own website being shut down because of a vulnerability by his provider is enough to convince anyone with a 2 year education that he most certainly has no clue about website security.
But what did I learn from this? I learned a lot. The first thing I learned was that law enforcement is slower than the military — and that’s saying something. I also learned that no matter how secure or invulnerable you think you are, some asshat can prove you wrong. That, I think made my company even more resilient. We did lose customers, mostly new ones such as Dynamic Property Services and Wayne Country Day School (the only 2 lost) but after we gained almost 38 new clients. Those that had been with our company for any length of time already knew the nature of the website, the person contacting them, and the attacks on me personally were entirely false in nature. They knew I was a veteran, they knew I had 4 very happy kids, and they knew many other details I won’t share here.
These customers are champs. They stuck by us during some of our roughest times and I can’t thank them enough for that.
Today, we do have a office. We also have our own infrastructure (2 fiber 10gbps connections) and a ISP that filters traffic up-stream thanks to the repeal of Net Neutrality. We are also still using a data scrubbing center to filter traffic as well as an added layer of security as well as VPN’s for our office computers. All-in-all we have taken every possible measure we know of to prevent this crisis from ever happening again.
We have even gone through the lengths of creating website and server firewall softwares that actively blocks and stops attacks against our websites and every one of our customers websites as well. To-Date, not a single website has been compromised due to any fault of our own. We have had a random email account that has been compromised (customer’s) because of a weak password. But that was quickly rectified and secured once we changed our password policy and told our customers they had to be accountable for weak passwords on our networks.
The product of this one person, that friendly neighborhood script kiddy is that we, as a company, have become stronger than ever, more customers than ever, more publicity (free) than ever, and in general, more secure than ever.
I guess the guy really believed what he posted, somehow that I wasn’t a United States Army Veteran that lives and believes the adage, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”
You simply can’t take down a military veteran. If we graduated Basic Training/Bootcamp/etc then you can best bet your last dollar on one thing: We’re stubborn as hell.
I guess the golden question really is, how successful was the neighborhood script kiddy at making me loose sleep? As it turns out, an abysmal failure.
Just to address some minor things before someone decides to seize the moment. It is true, I live in a modest house now and I did when this all went down. In my opinion, home is what you make of it. As long as it is structurally sound, anything more than what you need is just showing off. I have no reason to show off to anyone. You can’t take your house or money to the grave with you so what does showing off matter if you are already living comfortably? Someone that has to live in the biggest house possible sounds like a real sociopath or psychopath with that hallmark attribute of having to inflate their self-importance.
Second, I do buy new vehicles. I don’t want to have to worry about a vehicle breaking down. I love warranties, so if it does break down, I can call USAA to come pick me up and take me to the rental place, and I can call Dodge to come pick up their shit to fix it. For you anti-Dodge people, go suck eggs. That Durango I was speaking of was totaled by my wife (not her fault), of the 3 vehicles in the 3 vehicle pile-up that Durango was the only one of them that was recognizable, it was also sandwiched and my wife was the only party that didn’t need to visit the hospital. As far as I’m concerned, Dodge has earned my business for life, and rightfully so.