Social Network Gab Hacked, Faces $500,000 in Bitcoin Ransom Demand

Jafrin  |  Mar 2, 2021

Alternative social network platform, Gab was hacked with large troves of data including passwords and private messages being stolen. User profiles, hashed passwords, and passwords for groups also were affected by the hack. The attackers reportedly used a SQL injection vulnerability to siphon approx. 70GB of data. The company says it also received a ransom demand for nearly $500,000 in bitcoin for the data.

Bitcoin Ransom Demanded in Gab Attack

Gab CEO Andrew Torba released a statement on Twitter including a transphobic slur against the group, calling the attackers, demon hackers.

Torba also revealed the ransom demand in a message posted to the company's website, saying:

"The individuals holding us to ransom are extortionists. We do not pay ransom. We do not negotiate with extortionists. Period."

Torba did reveal that the company was aware of a vulnerability in this area and patched it last week. He added that the leaked passwords were hashed for security.

Activist data transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets) claims to have received more than 70 gigabytes of data exfiltrated from Gab. The DDoSecrets said it’s only planning to share the data with researchers and journalists but not publicly due to privacy concerns.  The group also clarified in a statement that they had no role in the data compromise of the Gab platform.

Torba criticized DDoSecrets for its supposed intention to release the data to journalists for ethical reasons, saying:

"These people are not ethical hackers. There is nothing 'ethical' about targeting millions of internet users for partisan political agendas."

Gab Social Platform Popular Among Right-Wingers

Affected users reportedly include former president Trump, Qanon-conspiracy theorist Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene, My Pillow CEO and election-conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell. However, Trump's profile reportedly was actually created by Torba in 2016 to boost the site's popularity and isn't used by Trump himself.

Gab is a social network platform that was founded in August 2016 that boats for free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information online. The platform largely includes right-wing users.

The site saw massive growth in the aftermath of January's Capitol siege, as other social-media sites cracked down on posts ignited violence with Parler, another right-wing network going offline.

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