The founder of far-right social media platform Gab has confirmed that hackers have breached the site, exposing the account of former US president Donald Trump.
Yesterday, Gab CEO Andrew Torba said that hackers were demanding $500,000 in Bitcoin for the stolen data, but that the company had no plans to pay up.
“The individuals holding us to ransom are extortionists. We do not pay ransom. We do not negotiate with extortionists. Period,” he says, in a post headed ‘Gab Does Not Negotiate With Criminal Demons’.
“These people are not ‘ethical hackers’. There is nothing ‘ethical’ about targeting millions of internet users for partisan political agendas.”
The data was leaked to the WikiLeaks-style group Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets), which says it has received around 70GB of data, including passwords and private messages.
It includes all Gab’s public posts and profiles, apart from photos or videos, as well as private posts and messages from groups and individuals.
“This dataset includes over 70,000 messages in more than 19,000 chats, by 15,000 users, in plaintext format,” says DDoSecrets director Lorax Horne.
The group says it was given the data by a hacking group, and had no part in the breach itself. Hackers known as JaXpArO and My Little Anonymous Revival Project were responsible, it says.
The group plans to release the data selectively, to protect the privacy of ordinary users. However, it contains a large amount of information about those present at the storming of the Capitol on January 6.
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Torba is not taking the events well, describing the hackers – who he identifies with DDoSecrets – as ‘mentally ill’ and using a transphobic slur.
“The same people behind this attack targeted law enforcement officers and their family members last summer,” he says in a tweet.
“The feds are treating them as a criminal hacker organization. We are working with our partners in law enforcement on this issue.”
He’s also extremely annoyed that DDoSecrets is still able to process payments via PayPal, Substack and ActBlue, all of which have refused to work with Gab itself. While
Gab has been around since 2016, its popularity really took off at the beginning of th is year when the similar right-wing site Parler was taken offline. It’s widely been seen as a rallying point for the Capitol rioters.