Usually when someone has a bad experience at a restaurant they leave a bad Yelp review. But a hacker known as ThreatKing allegedly decided to take things further after an unpleasant experience in New York.
According to Daily Dot, ThreatKing overwhelmed New York Magazine‘s server with traffic early Monday morning rendering, it inaccessible off and on throughout the day. The attack happened just hours after the magazine published the stories of 35 women who say they were sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby. In a Skype interview with the Daily Dot he said that targeting the magazine had nothing to do with the Cosby article.
“Many stupid people at [sic] New York…I have not even seen the cover, LOL,” he said.
Meanwhile the magazine has been redirecting visitors to their Instagram coverage of the Cosby scandal:
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) July 27, 2015
ThreatKing’s rationale for attacking the magazine is that it has “New York” in its name. Following an unpleasant trip to The Big Apple two months ago, the hacker apparently grew determined to bring down publications representing or covering the city in order to get revenge on residents who were mean to him.
The Twitter account representing the hacking group, Vikingdom, is live-tweeting the status of the attacks. The group got some attention earlier this year after they hacked several government sites, including Maine.gov. Though the hacker who takes credit for the hack claims it isn’t related to the Cosby story, the timing is a bit suspicious.
While the magazine was briefly back up and running this afternoon, the hacking syndicate said it would bring down bigger New York-based publications in the future:
Several minutes later, New York Magazine went offline again:
— Vikingdom2016 (@Vikingdom2016) July 27, 2015
The magazine has yet to make a public statement about what exactly is going on with its website.
In an age when government is too big and altogether too autonomous, so-called hacktivism might arguably do some good in providing much-needed transparency. But silencing a magazine, for whatever reason, is entirely unacceptable.
Hackers often enjoy fearful respect from many who don’t understand what they do. Remember episode 73 of The Twilight Zone? It’s okay if you don’t, I’ve seen every episode about 3 times. Let me fill you in:
The episode centers around young Anthony Fremont, who controls an entire town because he has powers the other residents do not understand, including mind reading and wishing men away to cornfields.
Like Anthony’s favorite pastimes — banishing those who think bad thoughts and mutating animals — the actions that brought down New York Magazine are destructive and childish. Silencing others isn’t acceptable, especially if it’s just to get back at them for allegedly being rude.