It doesn’t only happen to politicians and government offices, banks and insurance companies. Hacking has become a problem for Little River Band. While Congress and Special Investigator Mueller are looking into hacking of our 2016 election, other industries are now being forced to protect themselves. Exclusive with Wayne Nelson about why Little River Band was forced to take extreme measures to avert constant website hacking.
Hiring a specialist
Little River Band had to hire a cyber security specialist to advise them on the best way to protect their website. The first step they were told was to add extra security, firewalls and monitor action on the website. The next step was to block Countries, IP’s and entities that were attempting to hack their website. The specialist they hired informed the band of the source of the hacking and activities occurring inside the website. He provided ISP addresses that had made attempts to either bring down the site or send emails that contained malware and viruses.
Why would anyone want to hack their way into an international bands website? That is a good question. What the cyber crimes specialist could ascertain was they attempted to plant viruses, disable the website and gain access to confidential financial information. They were also looking to find email addresses and other contact information, as well as venue information related to LRB’s tour dates. Although no major damage was detected, the band felt it necessary to clamp down on future attempts at mischief.
Who was doing the hacking?
Unfortunately, one of the biggest culprits of hacking was the band’s country of origin, Australia. Little River Band was formed in Australia in the mid 1970’s. They were focused on American radio airplay and they got good results. Although known internationally, the band’s success was and is primarily in the US. The band has endured many personnel changes during their 42-year history. There are those in Australia who are very unhappy about the fact that LRB is now based in the US. It seems some of them may be responsible for the malicious activity at the band’s site.
It should be noted that Australia was not the only blocked country. Russia, Africa and a few other countries were blocked as well. The security expert believes those countries had other reasons for their activities.
Exclusive with Wayne Nelson about why Little River Band was forced to take extreme measures to avert constant website hacking.
The Daily Banner reached out to band leader Wayne Nelson for comment on the LRB website hacking and this is what Mr. Nelson had to say:
There are those in Australia who feel strongly that LRB should have stopped touring as the founding members either left the band or were forced out. Those feelings are not new. In 1982 when Glenn Shorrock was “asked to leave”, the cry went up in Australia that LRB was done. Then John Farnham replaced him as lead singer, and life went on.
The next year Beeb Birtles quit, and life went on again. Glenn came back in ’88. Graham Goble left in ’90 and so on. Life has now gone on for more than 35 years since all those departures. But with the advent of social media, malware, websites, etc., it’s become easier for some of the more adamant Aussies to reach across the water and wreak havoc with the band’s business whenever and however possible.
That ramped up pretty dramatically in 2015 as LRB passed its 40th anniversary. A ton of misinformation has been spread since. Again a product of being able to say things on the internet without knowing actual facts. In fact, not even being able to prove what is claimed. And so it goes…
In doing research for this article, we have discovered there have been lawsuits regarding Band name and trademark issues. Would you care to elaborate on this?
Sure. Bands have become businesses as musicians have gotten savvier about how to deal with record labels, publishers, trademarks, tax issues, etc. There was a lot of paperwork to sign and financial arrangements to square away when I was made a member of LRB. In particular, a stipulation that when you were no longer a band member, you left the trademark and name behind. There were more departures than the ones I mentioned above. Some members have made a run at getting that trademark back. Former members have complained that they didn’t know what they were signing when they left.
Bottom line is when they left or were forced out, the trademark and the name stayed with Little River Band. That trademark remained with the members that wanted to continue on. In 2001, Birtles, Shorrock, and Goble decided to reunite and take back the name. There was a court case in Australian Federal Court where they contested the signing of the documents I mentioned before. The judge looked at the paperwork and ruled in favor of the current trademark holder, Stephen Housden. A few years later, another attempt was made to use the band’s name in the US. A FL Federal Court ruled against the former members again. Those rulings still stand. So the business entity, and the trademark of Little River Band is owned by Mr. Housden. Stephen Housden wrote and performed on Prodigal Son, a song on the newly released ‘THE BIG BOX.’ Stephen Housden continues to be an active creative force behind Little River Band.
We understand you have a fast growing fan club. We hear some of your fan club members get harassed by Australians when they write complimentary things on Facebook about the band. Does your band’s Facebook page also get hacked and attacked?
It used to. But just as we had to do with the website, we closed our Facebook page to Australia to stop the posting of so much misinformation…and hatred. It’s like anything else…if people see a lie often enough, they start to believe it. And despite many attempts to correct the bad information, the Aussie press has pretty much closed us out from making any comments down there. In all these years, I’ve done one interview with a radio personality over there that is sympathetic to the complexity of the situation, and is basically on side with us.
But he’s one voice among many who vehemently disagree…dare I say violently disagree, as we’ve received multiple threats of bodily harm if we ever “dare to show our faces” in Australia. Stephen and I have received actual death threats full of 4-letter expletives written in bold print, all caps. Call me crazy…I think it’s pretty reasonable to make the decision to deny access to people who threaten to kill you, especially when they refuse to hear your side of the story.
We know that you sang lead on one of the band’s biggest hits, “The Night Owls.” That song helped LRB break a music record of sorts. Wasn’t it something like 6 top 10 songs in 5 years or something like that?
It did help…I think it was number 5 in the string. The 6th, Take It Easy On Me, also came from the Time Exposure album. LRB was the first band to have a top ten 6 years in a row…’77-’82. We weren’t aware there was such a record, or that we were in range of topping it. And if you think about the company we were in…from Elvis to Beach Boys to Stones to Beatles to Eagles…that’s quite a record. It’s probably been beaten since, but we were apparently the first band to 6.
We also heard that you were part of over 22 Little River Band albums. On top of that, you were George Martin’s choice for lead singer for one of the songs from the George Martin produced album TIME EXPOSURE. Tell us about that and how that album may have sparked change and tensions in the band.
For that second single, Take It Easy On Me, Graham Goble wanted me to submit a lead vocal on his song. Sir George initially picked my voice. But Glenn was then in the position to ask…and rightfully so in my opinion…if Wayne’s singing the first two singles from the album, what am I doing here?” In the end, Glenn sings the verses and I sing the bridge, which is quite a bit higher in range. So it ended up a split lead vocal. I actually loved the song from day one, so I’m glad I got to contribute to its success.
Exclusive with Wayne Nelson about why Little River Band was forced to take extreme measures to avert constant website hacking. Wayne Nelson talks about Australian and Russian Hacking and more.
Last question, why do you think Russia would want to hack the LRB website? Could Putin be “Reminiscing?” Just kidding and pun intended. LRB has never been known to be politically involved. We do know the band gets involved in a lot of causes, cares about the environment and does benefit shows. We heard about your new song, “Clean the Water.” What are earth would Russians have to gain hacking the LRB website? There really doesn’t seem to be any connection or reason.
I think all hackers are looking for connection to a long list of names and information. Bands with fan clubs and social media sites offer quick, and usually easy, access to those kinds of lists. Having spent our lives learning our craft, they would assume we haven’t taken the time to learn how to secure our digital information. And they’re right. Luckily we found a good guy to lock ours down.
In a perfect world, businesses, corporations and bands wouldn’t have to hire a cyber security expert to protect their property. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. That is just sad for everyone, especially since this is now touching the music world.
You can find Little River Band’s latest CD release which is a box set called “The Big Box,” on Amazon, iTunes and Target. To find out more about Little River Band’s new music, tour schedule and fan club, visit www.LittleRiverBand.com and www.LittleRiverBandFanClub.com.
Please feel free to share this: Exclusive with Wayne Nelson about why Little River Band was forced to take extreme measures to avert constant website hacking.
Little River Band is:
Wayne Nelson: Lead Vocals/Bass
Greg Hind: Guitar/Vocals
Chris Marion: Keyboards/Vocals
Rich Herring: Guitar/Vocals
Ryan Ricks: Drums/Percussion/Vocals