This morning you might have seen news outlets like The Guardian or CBS News reporting that neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer had been hacked by infamous hacking collective Anonymous. The only problem is that the “hack” is so painfully, obviously fake.
The only evidence used to support this hack is an unconvincing single post on the website. The post is styled as a classic Anonymous takedown, with vaguely threatening language in all capital letters, and stock imagery of Guy Fawkes masks. “END OF HATE: ANONYMOUS NOW IN CONTROL OF DAILY STORMER,” the title reads. Then, “WE HAVE TAKEN THIS SITE IN THE NAME OF HEATHER HEYER A VICTIM OF WHITE SUPREMACIST TERRORISM.” Heather Heyer was the counter-protester killed during a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.
The post is full of “dog whistles” to Daily Stormer readers tipping them off the hoax. Daily Stormer fans on the site’s message board are gleefully sharing tweets and articles by gullible and lazy journalists reporting the “hack.” On 4chan, where other Daily Stormer readers lurk, users are calling it a joke by the site’s founder Andrew Anglin.
“WE WILL ALLOW THE SITE TO REMAIN ONLINE FOR 24 HOURS SO THE WORLD CAN WITNESS THE HATE,” read the post from “Anonymous.” “THEN WE WILL SHUT IT DOWN.”
That may be a reference to the fact that domain registration company GoDaddy decided to drop The Daily Stormer yesterday, giving the site 24 hours to move its domain to another provider. (That’s a reversal for GoDaddy, which said just a month ago that “while we detest the sentiment of [The Daily Stormer]...we support First Amendment rights and, similar to the principles of free speech, that sometimes means allowing such tasteless, ignorant content.”)
The real giveaway that the post was fake is the fact that Anonymous is basically dead. The group — always a disorganized, amorphous collective that included many people with no real technical ability — hasn’t pulled off any real, successful hacks in years. It is a relic of the hacking past, although its name continues to be a bogeyman for those who have not updated their references.