Social media platform Gab, a Twitter alternative known for its far-right demographic, was hacked and two of the people whose accounts were "compromised" include former President Donald Trump and the CEO of the company, Andrew Torba.
Distributed Denial of Secrets, a group similar to WikiLeaks, collected more than 70 gigabytes of data from the platform incorporating more than 40 million posts, according to Wired. The hacker who allegedly recouped Gab's information goes by the identifier "JaXpArO and My Little Anonymous Revival Project." DDOSecrets co-founder Emma Best said the hacker got into the backend database via a SQL injection vulnerability, allowing for a hacker to meddle with it.
"It contains pretty much everything on Gab, including user data and private posts, everything someone needs to run a nearly complete analysis on Gab users and content," Best said. "It's another gold mine of research for people looking at militias, neo-Nazis, the far right, QAnon, and everything surrounding Jan. 6."
The group will not be releasing the data publicly due to the private information obtained, but the hacker has said they intend to selectively share tidbits with journalists, social scientists, and researchers.
In a public statement released on Friday, Torba acknowledged inquiries by reporters and accused them of working with the hacking group.
"We can only presume the reporters, who write for a publication that has written many hit pieces on Gab in the past, are in direct contact with the hacker and are essentially assisting the hacker in his efforts to smear our business and hurt you, our users," he said.
"The reporter, without providing us with any evidence of the breach or assistance to identify its veracity, alleged that an archive of Gab public posts, private posts, user profiles, hashed passwords for users, DMs, and plaintext passwords for groups have been leaked via a SQL injection attack," Torba said. "We were aware of a vulnerability in this area and patched it last week."
He also noted that they have not independently confirmed the veracity of the hack but are undertaking "a full security audit."
In a subsequent post from Torba on Sunday, he alleged "mentally ill tranny demon hackers" were hacking the social network and said the company is "working with our partners in law enforcement on this issue." He also revealed that his account and Trump's were "compromised," and "the entire company is all hands investigating what happened and [are] working to trace and patch the problem."
Twitter alternatives Gab and Parler have both seen a spike in viewers as some conservatives have left Twitter amid the banning of Trump and a subsequent purge of thousands of accounts by the social media site. Both alternatives, which have faced difficulties in recent weeks, promote the claim that they don't stifle free speech the way more mainstream outlets do, but critics say that has allowed white supremacy and hateful ideologies to spread online.