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Anti-Abuse Working Group


[anti-abuse-wg] Cogent & FDCServers: Knowingly aiding and abetting fraud and theft?

Ronald F. Guilmette

2019-09-06 10:32:29 CET

Few of you here probably know about this, but nearly a week ago now
an article appeared in South Africa's largest and most popular online
tech publication,  It detailed many, but certainly not
all of the results of my multi-month investigation of a massive and
ongoing fraud involving the theft of large numbers of large (generally
/16 or larger) abandoned legacy blocks, taken from the AFRINIC region
and beyond:

For various editorial reasons, the article that was published actually
downplayed the magnitude of the of the thefts quite dramatically.  The
totality of the IPv4 space that has been stolen or squatted, primarily
but not exclusively, from South African companies and South African national
goverment agencies and departments is actually at least 5x bigger than what
was reported in the article.

The overwhelming majority of this stolen and squatted IPv4 space has
been helpfully routed by Cogent (AS174), to their customer, FDCServers
of Chicago, and then on to the prefered destinations of a certain Mr.
Elad Cohen of Israel, and his company Netstyle Atarim, Ltd.  (I have
saved traceroutes up the wazoo that prove the involvement of FDCServers,
in particular, in all of this.)

Mr. Cohen has been exceptionally prolific in his IPv4 theft and squatting
activities, basically grabbing everything that wasn't nailed down, both
within the AFRINIC region and also within the APNIC region.

In order to try to legitimize all of these thefts and squats, Mr. Cohen
created quite a sizable number of fradulent route: objects within the
Merit/RADB data base which, as most here should already know, has
essentially zero authentication of any kind before it allows J. Random
Luser to add pretty much any any route: object he wants to the RADB.

Here's a full listing of all of Mr. Cohen's RADB route: objects as they
existed as recently as August 17th:

And here is the short summary version showing just all of the prefixes/CIDRs
that Mr. Cohen was effectively claiming rights and/or title to as of that
same date:

Plese do note the numerous blocks of size /16 or greater.

The bottom line is that this one tiny little Israeli company was effectively
claiming rights to a total of no fewer than 1,015,808 IPv4 addresses as of
August 17th, 2019.  (Not too shabby for one lone guy who teaches programming
classes as a side job!) Vitrually all of the space is "legacy" IPv4 space,
and generally consists of blocks having sizes of /16 or larger.

Some of Mr. Cohen claims in his RADB entries are as humorous as they
are pathetically fradulent.  For example, Mr. Cohen has effectively
claimed rights to which unambiguously belongs to the Port
Authority of the City of Melbourne, Australia.  But hell!  That's merely
city property!  Mr. Cohen's limitless appetite for other people's IPv4
space is more vividly on display in his claims to ownerhip over the block, which actually belongs to the Department of Finance
of the Australian national government.  And I haven't even mentioned yet
another of Mr. Cohen volumous IPv4 acqusitions, the block,
which he did not see fit to create an RADB entry for, but which he's
been squatting on for for quite some time now, quite clearly with the 
aid and assistance of both Cogent and FDCServers.  That one belongs to
th City of Cape Town, South Africa.  That city's engineers have been
struggling to regain control of their block back from Cogent, from
FDCServers, and from Mr. Cohen for some time now.   I know because I've
personally spoken to them about it.  Cogent, in its infinite wisdom, is
continuing to fight the city for control over property that clearly and
righfully belongs to the City of Cape Town, even as we speak:

When asked for LOAs attesting to his legitimate authority to route at
least a few of these blocks, Mr. Cohen has produced blatantly forged
documents, many of which appeared in the story.  And
when I say "blatant" that's a gross understatement.  Any half-way decent
forger would consider these documents an embarrasment.  The documents all
bear identical signatures, and identical and vaguely official looking
stamps, and purport to actually be sales reciepts attesting to the
alleged purchases, by Mr. Cohen's offshore Seychelles Islands shell
company, Afri Holdings, Ltd., of various /16 blocks from a mysterious
company called Afrivestment, Ltd., which may actually exist in some
faraway galaxy, or in Mr. Cohen's active imagination, but which both
Google and seem to agree exists exactly noplace on
this planet.  Here are the manufactured LOAs supplied by Mr. Cohen:

Recently, Cohen started to move some, but not all, of his stolen and squatted
IPv4 blocks off of Cogent/FDCServers and onto a friendly little bullet-proof
hosting company in the Netherlands named IP Volume, Inc. (AS202425) and/or
to its several sister networks, e.g. AS204655 - Novogara Ltd., all of which,
coincidently, just happen to be owned by the exact same pair of Dutch
gentlemen who previously owned the notorious Ecatel, follwed by the notorious
Quasi Networks.  (IP Volume, Inc. appears to have intherited all or nearly
all of its legitimately assigned IP space from its predecessor entities,
Ecatel and Quasi Networks.)

Despite these relocations, many of Mr. Cohen's stolen and squatted blocks
are still helpfully being routed to Mr. Cohen's preferred desitnations by
his good friends at Cogent and FDCServers, even as we speak.  The current
set of such routes that Cogent is maintaining, at the moment, apparently on
behalf of their customer, Mr. Cohen, consists of the prefixes listed here:

When I noticed two days ago that all of these routes were still up I was
deeply confused.  Did both Cogent and FDCServrs not get the memo??  Do
they not know yet that Cohen is stealing stuff, left, right, and sideways?
Did nobody even tell them about the article which was
published this past Sunday?  I decided that it was incumbant upon me to
find out.

Thus, more that 48 hours ago now I sent the following polite but firm
inquiry to Cogent, and a separate nearly identical one directly to the
CEO of FDCServers, Mr. Petr Kral (petr(at)

A full forty eight hours later, I have received no reply whatsoever from
either Cogent or FDCServers, not even a "Go pound sand" type of response.

More importantly, most of the stolen IPv4 space that I called out, very
specifically, to both Cogent and FDCservers two+ days ago now is still
being routed by Cogent/FDCservers to their fun-loving and, I'm sure,
promptly paying customer, Mr. Cohen.  If neither Cogent nor FDCServers
still do not know now that Mr. Cohen is a crook, and that he has glommed
onto quite a lot of stolen and squatted IPv4 space... which they have
been helpfully routing for him, no doubt in exchange for some handsome
payments... then I am foreced to say that it appears to be a reasonable
conclusion that it must be because neither Cogent nor FDCServers really
wants to know what sort of a character Cohen is, or what he has been up
to, specifically with their ongoing and material assistance.

But you all be the judges.  What does it look like to you?