Hacks that never happened

Yesterday, GoDaddy went down, taking with it countless hosted sites. A hacker claimed credit, gaining the attention of the entire tech press. But his story was soon debunked: a DNS configuration mistake was the real cause. At Threat Level, Robert McMillan recounts the greatest hacks that never were.


  1. Unknown hacker vs GoDaddy…
    You ever find yourself unsure which side to root for?
    Either it was a hack and GoDaddy might look dumb if it was simple or GoDaddy managed to shoot themselves and look dumb.

  2. The word is cracker, not hacker. Many good and important people have the title hacker. Not self imposed but achieved through meritocracy.

  3. This coupled with the debunking of the whole UDID scandal last week which had so much media coverage, makes you wonder where the truth really lies.

    Some supposed anon member claimed credit for the GoDaddy attack, and it was retweeted by AnonOps, however shortly after it was claimed he had nothing to do with the main group. It either was someone jumping for glory or a shill acting to discredit Anonymous.

    The UDID scandal? One way of another – either the FBI found a scapegoat, or Anonymous lied looking for attention and it bit them in the arse.

    One thing’s for sure, Anonymous/Hacktivists have some part to play in the upcoming events and the media’s all over setting the stage.

    1. Well the narrative needs to suit multiple needs.
      To the public Anonymous needs to appear to be a group of teenaged malcontents, with no real power or skill when they have done something important.
      When they want to pass a law, or executive order, Anonymous needs to be this shadowy giant operation using their super powers to destroy civilization as we know it unless we get more powers to spy on citizens.

      Creating a honeypot so you can try and capture and turn a member and have a giant dog and pony show for the media at a later date.

      1. Makes a lot of sense, reminiscent of the whole problem/reaction/solution scenario. They announce a problem, get a reaction and then propose the solution. Socialism 101.

        We’re facing the prospect of wiretapping laws in the UK atm (not that anyone’s naive enough to believe it isn’t common place already), a lot of people already use VPNs/Tor etc. but I fast suspect that they will be the next focus if the laws pass.

        Once the government/subsidiaries legally have the power, it won’t be long before they try and make it illegal to circumvent it.

    1. I found 1 really telling comment that I hadn’t considered before, and it makes tons of sense as to why they would fall on their sword…

      “I can say, without a doubt, regardless of hardware issues that they may have had as a result, this started as a DDoS attack and was the result of a combination of hacks and attacks. This is coming from the horse’s mouth.

      GoDaddy is a registrar. The largest registrar in the US. They aren’t going to come out and say they were hacked publically if they think they can get away with avoiding the negative press.”

      Its on page 2 of the comments… and gives them a real good reason to prefer looking semi incompetent rather than admit some skiddie took out their whole operation.

      1. But Anon is contradicting it themselves:

        “In a direct message, the person behind @Anonyops, a Twitter account frequently associated with the Anonymous movement, said the hacker was either “misguided or trying to give Anons a bad reputation.””

        1. Anyone can claim to be Anonymous, and if you want to spread FUD having large scale “failures” on the record helps.  Its not like the attack on GoDaddy was part of Op Chanology, where many Anons are working.

          While GoDaddy might claim there was no outside help in their failure, there is a chance to protect themselves as a registrar the narrative was helped along.

          There are way to many what-ifs at play here.
          Did some solo skiddie hit the motherload, hitting them with a DDOS that resulted in way more damage than we’ll ever know about?
          Was it a skiddie, or just someone trying to cause another cybersecurity scare to help a new spying bill get passed.
          Is GoDaddy filled with incompetents who nuked their own system by mistake?
          Is all of this fabricated to cover up something else?

          A massive registrar suffered “something”, one really should be asking what the hell happened and check the veracity of the statements.

  4. I wouldn’t say that GoDaddy claiming it wasn’t a hack is the same as it being “debunked”. Now we’ve just got one person’s word over another. We’re no closer to the truth than when we started.

  5. He seems to have left out the AT&T crash of 1990 – an event in which a subtle code bug was interpreted as a spectacular hack.

    I only know about it because of Bruce Sterling’s The Hacker Crackdown – probably the first book I read on Project Gutenberg back in the day.  It’s still a fascinating read.

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