Many conspiracy theories quickly spread across the internet on Friday, February 19, 2021, as Gab, a “Free Speech Social Network,” suddenly went black. Within minutes, their Twitter account also went black. Many initially wondered if the left wing had forced this site’s takedown, but Gab says that they took themselves offline after discovering a Bitcoin scam was using their site. The company says that they have no evidence that any Bitcoin changed hands. Additionally, they do not believe that the hackers were able to get anyone’s data.
Gab Took Itself Offline
Gab says that they became aware of the problem at 6:09 p.m. and took the site down at 6:25 p.m. out of an abundance of caution. Gab says that 12 accounts were affected, including two belonging to the social media site.
They say they have notified everyone involved and that the hackers only got access to one email address.
Gab Quick to Take Corrective Action
Gab says that their IT team identified the bug in the system; this bug let the spammers access the system. They are doing a full audit of the logs and infrastructure to prevent it from happening again. The company ended their blog about the matter by asking for donations to help keep the site working.
Twitter Had It Happen
Over the years, Gab is not the only social media site to be targeted by scammers. Twitter had it happen on July 15, 2020. In that case, hackers were able to compromise 130 accounts. Three individuals were arrested and charged with wire fraud, money laundering, identity theft, and unauthorized computer access related to the scam.
It appears that the conspiracy theorists were wrong this time. Gab took itself offline to protect its users. They also acted extremely quickly and have taken steps to try to stop future attacks.