4chan Security Breach: Hacker Hacks Hackers

Thursday, May 01, 2014 - 02:25 PM

Yesterday, Christopher Poole, better known as ‘moot’ and the founder of 4chan, confirmed that the popular imageboard had been hacked last week. In his blog post, moot explained that the hacker had gained access to “administrative functions and information from one of our databases.” This information included the credentials of three 4chan Pass users, a twenty dollar a year subscription that allows users to bypass captchas when posting or reporting posts. Fortunately, 4chan does not store any of their user’s payment information, which is handled by Stripe.

Those users, however, were still offered a refund and lifetime passes to the site. Furthermore, moot explained that the, “intruder later stated their motive was to expose the posting habits of a specific user they disliked.” Once the vulnerability was discovered, it was quickly patched, and moot says his team has spent, and will continue to spend, hours, “pouring over our software and systems to help mitigate and prevent future intrusions.” 

This is not the first breach of the imageboard. Some avid 4chan users may recall the incident that occurred in June of 2012, when access to the site was redirected to the UGNazi twitter account. 

While these hacks are frustrating for the moderators and janitors of the site and worrisome for users, they’re also pretty ironic. 4chan frequently appears in the media as a breeding ground for leet hackerz and DoS attacks, so this security breach is surprising, but it is not necessarily earth shattering. After all, any trip to 4chan’s most notorious boards could result in a page loading that appears to have been hacked. Uncontrollable music, every image being replaced with a strange picture, and other antics are almost expected upon each visit. Moreover, the hack was handled well. No financial information was compromised, the site ran, more or less, as it was supposed to, and the breach was resolved without much fuss. Moot and his mods might have issues if they ever faced a breach of a larger scale, but amidst a climate of heartbleeds, Internet Explorer security issues, and hacks of various sites occurring every week, moot and 4chan have shown that they can handle their own and keep a cool head. 

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. You can subscribe to our podcast here. You can follow our blog here. We’re also on Twitter, and we play Team Fortress 2 more or less constantly, so find us there if you like to communicate via computer games from six years ago.

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