WASHINGTON, D. C.-The transparency activism group DDoSecrets has announced the release of 70 gigabytes of user data from the social media platform Gab, a site that is known for its prevalence of far-right political activists and commentary.
The data was obtained via a vulnerability in Gab’s SQL code, giving the hacker backdoor access to the site’s files and sensitive user data. The hacker who stole the data remains anonymous, going by username “JaXpArO” and “My Little Anonymous Revival Project”.
Emma Best, the co-founder of DDoSecrets, said that the data recovered contained all user data on Gab, including private chats, passwords, usernames, pictures, and posts. Best told WIRED magazine that the data was a “gold mine” about the January 6 Capitol riots in Washington D.C..
DDoSecrets rose to prominence following the leak of police and law enforcement data, as reported by WIRED back in June 2020. The group of journalists and transparency activists have been involved in numerous international incidents, having just released another data leak on Monday concerning Myanmar military officials.
Journalists and news organizations have begun looking at the data, which is available upon request from DDoSecrets.
Gab CEO Andrew Torba issued a public statement on Friday, February 26, acknowledging the data breach while also saying that journalists who were in direct contact with the hacker who stole the data were “essentially assisting the hacker in his efforts to smear our business and hurt you, our users”.
Torba published a tweet on February 28, saying that Gab had been compromised by a “group of demonic tranny hackers”, prompting much attention amidst the current crisis. Torba would also intimate that DDoSecrets was behind the hack, which Best and others at DDoSecrets have denied.
Among the accounts hacked was former President Donald J. Trump’s Gab profile, which was maintained by Gab staff. Torba noted that the former President never actively used the account and that it was simply “reserved” for him.
Popular conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ account was also among those hacked.
Gab rose to prominence as a social platform following the hack of Parler, another social media platform popularized by right-wing political activists. Parler was hacked in January, following the infamous Capitol riots and Donald Trump’s subsequent ban from Twitter.
After the hack, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and Apple removed Parler from their platforms, and the social media site would then go dark. Gab is still carried at the time of writing.
Following Parler’s blacklisting, Gab would go on to receive the vast majority of their web traffic, seeing an increase in users in the following weeks. At one point, Gab was gaining 10,000 users per hour and seeing 12 million page views per hour.
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