Hacking group Anonymous stole and leaked over 150 gigabytes of data stored by web hosting firm Epik. The site is popular with far-right organizations such as the Proud Boys and conservative media networks like Parler and Gab.
While researchers are still going through the data, the breach provides information about years of online activities of these groups. The incident also undermines Epik’s pledge to customers to safeguard their anonymity.
Experts believe the hack will change how the aforementioned groups “organize and try to protect themselves online.”
Over 150 GB of Data Stolen and Leaked
Anonymous accessed and leaked over 150 GB of data held on Epik’s systems. The firm is known to provide web hosting services to conservative and far-right organizations. Furthermore, it has pledged to preserve the anonymity of its customers, regardless of the kind of dangerous conspiracy theories they may spread.
Many researchers and cybersecurity experts believe that this incident will change how these groups protect themselves online. Gabriella Coleman, a professor of anthropology at Harvard University, believes the breach will force such actors to find security providers outside North America. She added that the data dump “confirmed a lot of details about the far-right ecosystem.”
Researchers also believe that the incident will add to the surveillance paranoia among far-right communities online. According to Emily Crose, a cybersecurity analyst, these groups already feel they are under surveillance after the violent attempts to overturn the 2020 US presidential election.
Epik issued a statement last week in response to the incident. The firm confirmed the attack and said it has “deployed multiple cybersecurity teams to assess, secure, and remediate all affected systems.”
It added that it has identified the incident and is working to resolve it. “Epik has been a trusted resource for many years and our highest priority will always be security and privacy,” the firm said.
According to the firm, the leaked information includes data on 15 million people that was already public.
Troy Hunt, an Australian cybersecurity expert, says that many people who are not Epik’s customers were affected by the incident. He attributes this to the firm’s third-party data collection practices. He added that 100,000 of his subscribers were affected by the hack.
Hunt said that a lot of people have not been notified about their information being leaked.
If you’re interested in learning about how you can preserve you can use your favorite online services while preserving your information, check out our detailed resource on online privacy.