Thursday, May 3, 2007

05/03/07 - Responding to Net Attacks; Victory in Congress!

PRIVATE MESSAGE: The purpose of the ...VLUeM e-memo is to update the Vitamin Lawyer and

Vitamin Lawyer News web sites for my contacts and client list. Please take a look at – we have a new look and better indexing.
1. Strategies for Responding to Net Attacks – Fake Ratings Sites
2. Strategies for Responding to Net Attacks – DoS Preparation
3. Health Freedom Issues: VICTORY IN CONGRESS TODAY!

1. Strategies for Responding to Net Attacks – Fake Ratings Sites

Here is a copy of an email I just provided to one of my regular clients:

“There are several strategies that can be used to respond to fake "third party" sites that are actually competitor sites designed to denigrate competing products. These responses vary from mild to extreme; from inexpensive to very expensive.

But, before getting to those strategies, some preliminary issues may help understanding how far to go.

First, who actually owns the offending site? I searched the WhoIs database at and find a "private registration" through Network Solutions (NS is the original & "Cadillac" of the URL registrars). The problem is, the register does not have to cooperate without starting a lawsuit and serving a subpoena on it; one trick is to start a small claims action (which is relatively cheap) and issue the subpoena from that.

Second, does anyone actually see the offending site? I checked the rating for the offending site. It has worse than a 3,000,000th rating. Your rating is in the Top One Million. So this offending site may not be much of a problem. By the way, being in the Top One Million is a good thing!

Here are some options:

0. Create & promote a competing site with similar name & image to dilute the offending site's search engine status.
1. Legal letter from attorney to offender, sort of saying: “Cease & Desist your defamatory posting and stop using our trademark!” with copies to URL register and ISP.
2. Written complaint for unfair competition, false claims, to appropriate Attorney General Consumer Protection Agency; copy to offender.
3. Same as #2, but to Federal Trade Commission, if more of a federal issue situation.
4. Lawsuit in state court for unfair competition, trademark violations, etc.
5. Lawsuit in federal court under cyber protection laws (such as the Cybersquatting Act).”


2. Strategies for Responding to Net Attacks – DoS Preparation

It takes a sophisticated opponent to engineer Denial of Service (DoS) attacks on a web site. Individual computers and even local networks have to be commandeered and turned to the nefarious task of massively requesting information from the attacked site, so it crashes under the assault. Since the attack is coming from many IP addresses, it is difficult to stop.

These are certain simple steps you can take, with your webmaster, to minimize the threat. The first step is to always have a mirror site on another server. Then, if attacked, the alternate site can take over until the attack stops. There is a certain way to code your site that can minimize the effect of a DoS attack. I acknowledge receiving this information from Mike Adams of – a great Internet source of information. For various reasons, I am not publicly releasing this information. If you would like to know more about this, please email me at and put “DoS” in the subject line.


3. Health Freedom Issues Continue to Reach 100,000’s

During the past 5 weeks we have seen an awesome outpouring of citizen protest against a growing list of FDA, congressional and international pressure on our health freedoms. Around 180,000 people sought to file comments with the FDA about the draft CAM guidance, before the comment period ended. At the same time, several troubling bills are wending their way through Congress and Codex, the UN food agency, continues to be a battleground. Commenting on this, Dr. Rima Laibow, MD, Medical Director of the Natural Solutions Foundation - – recently stated on her blog:

"Right now the American Public is being whipsawed: first the dangerous FDA CAM Guidance (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine/Modalities) which threatens to turn all health practices into medicine which only physicians could practice and the foods and supplements supporting natural health into
unlicensed drugs – and, yes, there is a real danger to your health freedom despite a good deal of internet chatter to the contrary!) - and now the sudden advancement of Senator Ted Kennedy disastrous bill, S 1082 (“the FDA Revitalization Act of 2007”, plus the identical House bill) from Committee to the floor of the Senate for a vote in the immediate future without public hearings. It would be easy to succumb to “health freedom vigilance fatigue”, which is, I believe, exactly what the intended effect is supposed to be. There is even speculation that Senator Kennedy moved this bill forward so rapidly BECAUSE the American public responded so vigorously to the CAM Guidance and are presumed to be preoccupied with it."

You can keep up with the latest developments at the Health Freedom Blog:

VICTORY IN CONGRESS! And some very good news: Congress has accepted the following amendment to S.1082 - Enhancing Drug Safety and Innovation Act of 2007 - from Sen. Durbin. It appears that Congress heard our concerns! Hundreds of thousands of messages to FDA no doubt reverberated through the halls of Congress. The amendment was adopted with 94 out of 100 votes.

Sec. X08. Rule of Construction

Nothing in this title (or an amendment made by this title) shall be construed to affect--

(1) The regulation of dietary supplements under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act; or

(2) The adverse event reporting system for dietary supplements created under the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act.

Like many victories in Congress, you hardly ever get everything you want. A leading supplement industry lawyer, J. Emord originally proposed exempting all "foods" from the new law (Counsel stated: "It is a fundamental tenet of food and drug law that foods and food ingredients are presumed to be safe and have to be established to be adulterated only if they present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury.") This approach would have offered even greater protection for natural products, but we are grateful that enough members of Congress heard the loud shout from the public and responded so quickly to at least protect DSHEA products -- the power of Internet politics at its best.

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