The online image board 8chan.co, was taken down this afternoon by its domain registrar, internet.bs Corp. The owner of 8chan.co, Frederique Brennan, who is known as Hotwheels in the boards) released a tweet stating that:
— 8ch.net (@infinitechan) January 13, 2015
The “domain” is the name of the website. Websites can be hosted on servers anywhere in the world, but the actual name of a site has to be registered, which is what companies like internet.bs do. This morning, around 9 a.m EST, internet.bs “seized” the 8chan.co domain name for allegedly hosting illegal content.
When Mr.Brennan encountered a screen that stated:
This domain has been put on hold. Check reason below.
The message also contained the email address for internet.bs customer enquiries.
From what I could gather, several users of the site got in touch with internet.bs which forced them to tweet the following with the addition of a statement:
Our statement regarding the recent suspension, we will not respond to further comment, thank you. pic.twitter.com/AA1AxNFocl
— Internet.bs Corp. (@internetbs) January 13, 2015
The statement reads:
Due to the response received to our recent decision to suspend a domain, we would like to clarify our procedure in dealing with complaints. If we believe particular sensitive criminal content is hosted in connection with a domain under our management, where it is reasonable to assume that the domain owner may not be aware that such content is hosted, we will forward our concerns, along with the relevant complaints, to the domain owner asking for a response or reaction. If the concerns are not addressed and we do not receive a response within a reasonable timeframe (but not less than two days) we will suspend the domain until such a time as we receive a satisfactory response.
The statement does not go into detail on what type of response they wish to see from Mr.Brennan. For those unfamiliar with the image board, 8chan is a site which allows its users to post anonymously without log ins or data retention. However chan.co has a policy against hosting illegal continet such as information on how to illegally procure weapons or make drugs, and least of all post child abuse. This does not prevent users from posting such content, but the site is managed by a team of moderators and volunteers who will delete anything that is illegal (as per “Global Rule #1”). The users of the site can also “flag” up any content in order to bring it to the attention of the “mods”.
Previous actions by 8chan’s moderators indicate that this is strictly enforced. In a stream hosted by a gamer known as “KingOfPol”, Mr.Brennan recounted a problem he had when a user of /cuteboys/ (a Gay board) posted a nude of himself and said that he was “17”. Mr.Brennan almost banned the board and its moderators, reversing his decision at the last minute when the user that posted his photo proved to Mr.Brennan that he was, in fact, 18.
8Chan’s very nature makes it a notorious, and sometimes hated site (it was even dubbed “hatechan” during a HuffPoLive debate by the notorious Brianna Wu). Over its short existence, 8chan has garnered many enemies.The online image board rose to fame when it allowed GamerGate supporters to congregate, something which is main rival 4chan did not.
Along with the mainstream gaming press and Brianna Wu, 8chan other enemies include’ Ben Garrison, a cartoonist who threatened to file suit over copyright, and Julien Blanc, a PUA who claimed libel. 8chan’s enemies come in legions.
Due to this, 8chan has been under attack for over a month. Two days ago, 8chan was DDoS’d for the third time since January. Mr.Brennan released a statement via Twitter apologising to the users of the site and provided an alternate venue. He also stated that the rumors which put the blame on “Brianna Wu” and “Muslims” were unfounded. .
In any case, http://t.co/mFRng4BeLp is still up as an alternate chan. Remember: Get rid of your toilet, you still have to shit.
— 8chan.co (@infinitechan) January 12, 2015
What is known, however, is that whoever is attacking 8chan, is using Lizard Stresser, Lizard Squad’s hacking (DDoS-ing) tool for hire.
This incident follows a series of DDoS attacks on similar websites such as the famous 4chan.org, which was also targeted by Lizard Stresser during the busy christmas period.
Lizard Squad rose to cyber-infamy when they claimed to be behind the Playstation and XBOX live outages this past December. They are selling their tools to whoever is willing to pay. For the measly sum of $299.99, anyone can attack and bring down a sizeable website. If you have the cash, Lizard Squad will take sites down for you.
This is all illegal of course, as one presumed member found out when he got arrested. Vincent Omari, who claims to be the spokesperson for Lizard Squad, denied being behind the December XBox attacks. He is currently under investigation by the British police for suspicion of fraud and Computer Misuse Offences. If he, or a member of his hacker group is convicted for the XBox Live outage, it could land him 10 years in prison. All of that for some “lulz”.
The events which have recently transcended come at a bad (dare I say conspicuous) time. The DDoS attacks and the suspension may be enough to put 8chan out of commision. Time will tell.
Internet.bs may not have a court order to “seize” the domain, but it is a business and they have to protect themselves from bad PR. It may be the case that they have been played by 8chan’s enemies and hackers-for-hire whose motives are likely to be the termination of the site. Keep an eye out for 8chans twitter feed for more updates.
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