Epik, a Sammamish-based hosting company known for hosting several controversial websites, has been hacked last week.
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Epik has often been seen as a haven for websites that clashed with their previous vendors, having briefly hosted groups like 8chan, the Daily Stormer, and the Texas Right to Life Group, among others. While the company no longer hosts these sites, its recent hack – believed to be the work of Anonymous – is described by some as “a Rosetta stone on the far right,” according to a Washington Post report.
“It’s huge,” Megan Squire, a researcher at Elon University, told The Post. “This is possibly the biggest domain style leak I’ve seen and, as an extremism researcher, it’s definitely the most interesting.”
Files recovered and then disclosed by hackers are said to contain records of purchases dating back years, internal Epik emails, credentials for customer accounts, and in some cases identities and other personal information. of people running a handful of extremist websites. This included information about a prominent “Stop the Steal” organizer, who tried to cover up his role in running “dozens and dozens of websites calling the 2020 elections stolen” in the wake of the riot. January 6 at the United States Capitol, according to the Daily Dot.
The hosting company initially denied any knowledge of the hack, initially stating that it was “not aware of any breach”. Epik CEO Robert Monster returned later, admitting in a livestream that aired last week that there had indeed been “data hijacking.”
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The company last made headlines in early 2021 when Parler briefly registered its domain name with Epik, after Amazon Web Services removed the social media platform from its own servers. AWS had cited a “steady increase” in disturbing and potentially inciting content on Talk through January 6, with many users arguing for violence against opponents of then-President Donald Trump.
Epik later clarified that it had “no connection or discussion” with Parler and that the platform’s domain registration took place as part of an “automated” process that was not monitored.