4Chan-Gawker War Gets Personal

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On Tuesday, we spotlighted a minor Internet war brewing between Gawker Media Company and a team of hackers from the infamous imageboard website 4chan.org. The whole affair started when Gawker's Adrien Chen chronicled the harassment of an 11-year-old girl by 4chan users this month. He called them out for being callous and immature and they responded by mounting a denial-of-service attack on Gawker.com, which is an attempt to crash a website by overloading its servers.

On the first day, the attack failed. On day two, the hackers succeeded in slowing down the site. Now, word comes from Gawker's Ryan Tate that 4chan users have escalated the web brawl, going after Gawker editors and reaping general havoc on their personal lives. Tate explains:

As the author of the post about yesterday's attack, I got some nasty Facebook messages from angry 4chan users calling me various names and showing me the personal information they'd collected about me. Someone else sent my wife a porn video in a message that repeated "WE ARE LEGION" over and over, a slogan of 4chan offshoot Anonymous. Then, later in the day, someone wrote from the Facebook account of a stranger—a woman living in England judging by her friends—to inform my wife we'd been carrying on a torrid three-month affair. We're guessing the account was either hacked or belongs to a friend of the aggrieved 4chan users.

The attackers also spammed email accounts belonging to myself, two higher ups at Gawker Media and Adrian Chen.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.