Hackers usually flatter themselves as being stateless and not on a side, but a group of leftist computer thieves called Anonymous recently released a huge trove of stolen names, passwords and even home addresses of people involved with right-of-center websites.
The media are giddy, treating the breach not as a crime and a privacy invasion – for data leaks can cut both ways – but as a victory in their ongoing ideological war.
“It’s massive. It may be the biggest domain-style leak I’ve seen and, as an extremism researcher, it’s certainly the most interesting,” said Elon University computer science professor Megan Squire in an interview with the Washington Post.
The 150 gigabytes of released data came from Epik, a Washington-based domain service for websites that have been turned away from liberal-aligned web hosting services, among others. Some sites are extreme, but some are merely discussion forums like Gab and Parler.
The breach was first reported on Sept. 13 on Twitter by freelance reporter Steven Monacelli.
Earlier in September, Epik hosted the website ProLifeWhistleblower.com, which solicited the names of doctors who performed abortions in violation of Texas’s new anti-abortion law.
Founded in 2009 by Rob Monster, Epik has described its role as keeping the internet a place of free speech, where leftist censorship cannot quash ideas.
Fully revealing their own hostility to free speech, Anonymous made the data available for download with a note saying it would help researchers trace the ownership and management of “the worst trash the Internet has to offer.”
The files include years of purchase records, internal emails and customer credentials that disclose who administers some of the world’s biggest right-wing websites.