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15 Sep, 2021 15:51

Hackers claim to have stolen trove of data from Epik, web host for multiple right-wing platforms

Hackers claim to have stolen trove of data from Epik, web host for multiple right-wing platforms

A hacktivist group claims to have stolen a decade’s worth of data from web company Epik. The firm is known for hosting conservative platforms such as Parler and sites belonging to organizations like the Proud Boys.

On Monday, independent journalist Steven Monacelli shared a press release from hacking group Anonymous in which it claimed to have successfully infiltrated web domain registrar Epik. 

The group says it has stolen “a decade's worth of data,” including information on Epik’s clients and users. The data, Anonymous claims, is “all that's needed to trace actual ownership and management of the fascist side of the Internet that has eluded researchers, activists, and, well, just about everybody.” 

Anonymous said that the 180 gigabytes of data recovered by the hackers would be released for free public download. It has since been made available.

The group also claims that Epik did not encrypt any data, noting that everything including logins was there in plain text. They state that Russian developers allegedly used by Epik were bad at their jobs: “they probably enjoyed snooping through all your s**t just as much as we did.” The statement notes that credit card data wasn't taken, adding, “FBI, we're not in that game.”

Epik is no stranger to controversy. The firm hosts sites like free-speech focused Twitter competitor Gab, imageboard website 8chan, and Alex Jones' InfoWars. It also hosts websites linked to the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, a right-wing group that includes current and former military, law enforcement, and first-responder personnel who have sworn oaths to defend the US Constitution “from all enemies, foreign and domestic.” 

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The web host brought Gab back online after its previous host dropped it following accusations that the free speech site was partially to blame for a 2018 shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The firm has also hosted the Texas Republican Party website, as well as a pro-life whistleblower site where Texans could report those who were trying to get abortions. The latter was removed for violating Epik's terms and conditions.

Epik CEO Rob Monster has previously had to deny sympathies with white supremacist groups, claiming he's just a Christian. He denied that Epik ever hosted the website Daily Stormer, a far-right, neo-Nazi and white supremacist commentary-based blog.

The firm is yet to confirm or deny whether the hack has taken place. Links to the alleged data dump have been made widely available online.

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