Sinister cult hijacks
August 30, 2002 5:25 AM   Subscribe

Sinister cult hijacks While working on an application that finds patterns in the data supplied by, Mo Morgan found some disturbing patterns:

"[...] between midnight and five there had been over 60 pings to from sites that contained the string "srichinmoy" in their URI."

At first it just looks like some idiot abusing the ping system. Or could this be something altogether more sinister?
posted by dutchbint (30 comments total)
ok, maybe i'm just out of it but.... huh?
posted by zoid at 5:31 AM on August 30, 2002

and what the hell has "abuse of the ping system" got to do with 60 pings over a 5 hour period??
posted by zoid at 5:34 AM on August 30, 2002

the Mahavishnu Orchestra is behind it all.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 5:35 AM on August 30, 2002 [1 favorite]

it's not the number of pings, its the number of sites. All apparently run by the same person.
posted by momorgan at 5:36 AM on August 30, 2002

Even if every site that ever pinged you is owned by the same person, where do you see "abuse"?
What problems has it caused?
posted by jozxyqk at 5:38 AM on August 30, 2002

Sounds like someone was doing some network updates and wanted to make sure that all of his machines still had external access.
posted by daveg at 5:38 AM on August 30, 2002

The URLs that are pinging are not weblogs, but pages and pages of propaganda for the Sri Chinmoy cult. And we're talking repeated "updates" from several of the sites, so it doesn't look like just some innocent network testing.
posted by dutchbint at 5:43 AM on August 30, 2002

Domain hijacking.... via ping. Sinister indeed.

Bleh, it's too early to be snarky. Leaves a bad taste.
posted by delapohl at 5:52 AM on August 30, 2002

Are you saying that this "cult" is updating pages on your website?
If so why would they want to do that? are you famous and they're hoping to get some publicity from this?
posted by zoid at 5:55 AM on August 30, 2002

like some of my log entries say "dont panic".
posted by dabitch at 5:55 AM on August 30, 2002

Any divine thought
Is entitled to be
In the lap of divine Love.

come sit upon my lap of divine love so that i may reveal your special purpose...
posted by quonsar at 5:56 AM on August 30, 2002

Bleh, it's too early to be snarky. Leaves a bad taste.
not where i live :)
posted by zoid at 5:57 AM on August 30, 2002

Hmmm, note that redirects to, the "official" website, with a Happy Birthday to the guru, while is by former members coming out in the open about the guru's abuse.

I think the shit is hitting the fan in a minor cult war, and some of it is landing on
posted by brownpau at 6:03 AM on August 30, 2002

chinmoy seems perfectly cromulent to me.
posted by quonsar at 6:23 AM on August 30, 2002

I'm just confused... is the pinging meant to be a prelude to something more nasty? Are they going to be trying a DDOS? Why Probably all best summed up by the first comment in this thread: huh?
posted by humuhumu at 6:29 AM on August 30, 2002

I think what this shows most of all is how easy it is for any old fool to ping I mean, there's no obvious form of moderation to ensure that sites that get listed are in fact bonefide weblogs.

It's only a matter of time before the pr0n merchants get a hold of this, and then will be rendered more-or-less useless.
posted by momorgan at 6:33 AM on August 30, 2002

For the benefit of those who may have missed it, this is not about ping in the conventional sense, it's about XML-RPC pings that are sent to so that it can compile its list of update times for weblogs.

It's therefore also not about DDOS - it's simply some chap somewhere who's figured out that he can generate lots of traffic off because its content is entirely automated and unmoderated.

Everything you could ever possibly want to know about the XML-RPC interface is here and here.
posted by momorgan at 6:48 AM on August 30, 2002

As others say, it was only a matter of time before the lax authentication of was going to be abused. These kinds of clowns will be abusing trackback too, sooner or later.
posted by rcade at 6:52 AM on August 30, 2002

This gives some indication of the level of abuse/silliness we're talking about here. By my estimate, at least 300 chinoy-related urls have pinged in the last 6 weeks. (Hope that link works when you're not logged in to
posted by gleuschk at 7:03 AM on August 30, 2002

The Mahavishnu Orchestra *and* Devadip Carlos Santana
posted by pjdoland at 7:44 AM on August 30, 2002

Mmmm... Sri Chinmoy does make a tasty Neatloaf.
posted by vacapinta at 7:54 AM on August 30, 2002

I am always moved by
The omnipresent Love-Fragrance
Of God.

- Sri Chinmoy
Poem # 9260 - Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees Vol.10

Published on August 30, 2002 at 10:07 AM

It says: "Welcome to "130,000 Sutras For The New Millennium", a multi-year publishing effort which intends to present to the world at large the mantric poetry of Sri Chinmoy

is he going to write 130 000 of these crappy poems?
Run away!

And there's a lot more where that came from.

This guy deserves some award for worst poetry ever to be found on the internet. And that's saying something.

On topic: what's in it for them? Is this some battle to get the upper hand in Google Searches for Sri Chinmoy?
posted by NekulturnY at 7:56 AM on August 30, 2002

I read that as "Spinster Cult hijacks"
Want to get rid of Old Maids? Just rehydrate and eat them.
posted by Shane at 8:00 AM on August 30, 2002

"The guru's followers claim to hold all kinds of world records for such things as continuous hand clapping (50 hours), and continuous rolling along the ground (12 miles)."
posted by brownpau at 8:08 AM on August 30, 2002

It's only a matter of time before the pr0n merchants get a hold of this, and then will be rendered more-or-less useless.

As opposed to now? is already useless in most respects -- Blogtracker is the only thing that redeems it.
posted by jjg at 9:36 AM on August 30, 2002

This guy deserves some award for worst poetry ever to be found on the internet.

Somebody rip his mask off...I'll bet he's a Vogon is disguise!
posted by ruggles at 9:39 AM on August 30, 2002

If I understand correctly, the problem that people are alluding to is that what basically amounts to a highly dubious cult of individuals are trying to promulgate their ideas by hijacking one of the distributed weblog communities update-tracking tools. Don't know what to think about this except that it was essentially inevitable and I can't imagine it gets them much in traffic... But on the other hand, it is a bit weird to feel that a product that emerged from weblog culture could be abused so easily and by such a ... strange ... organisation. Although I probably feel less tense about that than the fact that people read warbloggers...
posted by barbelith at 12:15 PM on August 30, 2002 is already useless in most respects -- Blogtracker is the only thing that redeems it.

Actually, I'd say that is a better interface for the same data. I used blogtracker for several months, but I think is better programmed and better supported.
posted by gleuschk at 12:31 PM on September 1, 2002

huh huh, huh huh huh,uh huhhuh
he said, "love fragrance"
posted by aiq at 10:22 AM on September 2, 2002

Granted the Sri Chinmoy people have a slightly different concept of a blog than Mo Morgan does. They have a number of sites which, in addition to their main content, publish a few short poems or aphorisms a day by their spiritual teacher in blog form. Thi s doesn't give the chatty, conversational quality some people associate with a blog, but who's to say it isn't kosher? They like it, and cynics seem to have fun trashing it, so I give it the thumbs up. Anyway, it's better than blogs that say: "Washed my h air with Prell, but the lather wasn't as thick as on TV..."

Backstory: The Sri Chinmoy people were content to have a very minor web presence for a few years. Then the anti-cult movement started pillorying them with fake Sri Chinmoy sites containing fai rl y dodgy "mind control" dogma and drugstore novel type "true confessions." At a certain point I think they kinda had to respond. They've put out a lot of material, but it's harmless peace and love type stuff, and for those with a taste for Eastern medit ati on and philosophy, some of it is quite inspired.

They might be doing some heavy-duty linking, but that could be in self-defense. It seems a bit bigoted to say that a "sinister cult" is at work. There seems to be a server perhaps owned and run by a st uden t of Sri Chinmoy. A lot of different people around the U.S. are using the server for similar types of material, since some of them are also students of Sri Chinmoy. There are some very sinister vegetarian restaurants and musical instrument shops usin g the server! Perhaps they're plotting to destroy the Empire State Building by lobbing curry and sitars at it! Call in the FBI!

Before I'm accused of the obvious, I plead guilty. I'm a fan of Sri Chinmoy, the Mahavishnu Orchstra, and the Vogons. Sri Chin moy s aid "Don't panic" long before it was published in Hitchiker's Guide. :-)

May I gently suggest that rather than assuming these people deserve to have their personal contact info published on the net en masse, that if someone has a serious problem wi th the m, they first try and resolve it amicably?

For a restaurant at the end of the universe (Cali):

And for a candid look at these enemies of Western civilization, try:

For alternative views of Rick Ross and other kidnapping type deprogrammers, see:

Seriously, though. I know the Sri Chinmoy people to be good and decent folks who simply choose a different way of life. As a religious minority, they get hassled enough. If you can find it in your heart, try and give them a free pass.
posted by outcast at 10:57 AM on September 3, 2002

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