Web cesspit 4chan touts '$20 bug bounty' after hackers ruin Moot's day

Founder's admin account hijacked, then loses Amazon keys to 'Bitcoin' bandit


Internet armpit 4chan now has a bug bounty – although with just $20 in "self-serve ad spend" on the website or an annual membership up for grabs, it's not particularly bountiful.

The bounty programme was launched after the image-board website and a drawing website, both founded by Chris "moot" Poole, were compromised by miscreants.

The bounty [details here] may help to deter future attacks by encouraging hackers to quietly report vulnerabilities so they could be fixed.

But 4chan's effort could be hindered as the cashless reward stands as one of the stingiest on the internet, with researchers rewarded the princely sum of 20 bucks in "self-serve ad spend" or a free annual 4chan membership (worth $20) for each bug disclosure, plus recognition in the presently empty hall of fame.

Poole blogged about how he had awoken last week to a series of missed phone calls from pals who told him he'd "been hacked twice in one day".

He detailed how a sextet of security blunders allowed a hacker to login as moot on 4chan and cause more than the usual chaos on 4chan, and let another villain tap into Poole's DrawQuest Amazon cloud account to spin up a 100 heavyweight virtual machines – which he went on to suggest may have been used for Bitcoin mining.

The damage was bad enough to lead Poole to sink the unprofitable but popular online sketch board DrawQuest, rather than invest in securing the site, and subsequently send its 100,000 active artists packing.

"Waking up to a string of missed calls is rarely a harbinger of good, and this time would prove no different," Poole said of the morning of 30 April.

"On one hand I'm frustrated we made such simple mistakes that resulted in very real consequences, but also grateful that it provided us an opportunity to learn from those mistakes and share them with the world."

Poole said the hacker busted into his 4chan account to out a user they "disliked", but evidently took the opportunity to wreak havoc by exposing moderators' names and IP addresses.

The hacker apparently exploited a SQL injection vulnerability on a defunct 4chan.org page used to generate statistics, and eventually nabbed Poole's login credentials. The infiltrator may have referred to old 4chan PHP source code that was leaked a while back.

Later that day, that hacker or another one popped up in DrawQuest's Amazon account, Poole explained.

Poole explained the hacker broke in after the website's source code was made public – and even though the private Amazon account keys were scrubbed from the latest revision of the code, they remained in the version history. This allowed the miscreant to pluck the keys from an old commit, and spin up a hundred extra-large compute instances.

"It was a long day to say the least," Poole said.

He warned admins to avoid single points of failure, assume active methods were ineffective, and to regularly reassess security system. ®

Similar topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Amazon shows off robot warehouse workers that won't complain, quit, unionize...
    Mega-corp insists it's all about 'people and technology working safely and harmoniously together'

    Amazon unveiled its first "fully autonomous mobile robot" and other machines designed to operate alongside human workers at its warehouses.

    In 2012 the e-commerce giant acquired Kiva Systems, a robotics startup, for $775 million. Now, following on from that, Amazon has revealed multiple prototypes powered by AI and computer-vision algorithms, ranging from robotic grippers to moving storage systems, that it has developed over the past decade. The mega-corporation hopes to put them to use in warehouses one day, ostensibly to help staff lift, carry, and scan items more efficiently. 

    Its "autonomous mobile robot" is a disk-shaped device on wheels, and resembles a Roomba. Instead of hoovering crumbs, the machine, named Proteus, carefully slots itself underneath a cart full of packages and pushes it along the factory floor. Amazon said Proteus was designed to work directly with and alongside humans and doesn't have to be constrained to specific locations caged off for safety reasons. 

    Continue reading
  • Crypto market crashes on Celsius freeze, inflation news
    Not a good moment to look at that digi-coin portfolio, fam

    The cryptocurrency world is experiencing what can only be described as a meltdown, with prices plummeting today to lows not seen since the end of 2020.

    The plunge is likely due to several factors including general economic uncertainty as seen in the stock market, inflation, bearish conditions and loss of confidence in crypto-coins, and scared money and bots being spooked by whales selling.

    It definitely did not help that crypto-lending biz Celsius Network put a freeze on withdrawals, swaps, and transfers Sunday night. Soon after Bitcoin tumbled 10 percent, Ethereum lost 19 percent of its value, and fan-favorite Dogecoin shed nearly 15 percent of its value, or about $0.01, since then. 

    Continue reading
  • Alibaba Cloud challenges AWS with its own custom smartNIC
    Who'll board the custom silicon bandwagon next?

    Alibaba Cloud offered a peek at its latest homegrown silicon at its annual summit this week, which it calls Cloud Infrastructure Processing Units (CIPU).

    The data processing units (DPUs), which we're told have already been deployed in a “handful” of the Chinese giant’s datacenters, offload virtualization functions associated with storage, networking, and security from the host CPU cores onto dedicated hardware.

    “The rapid increase in data volume and scale, together with higher demand for lower latency, call for the creation of new tech infrastructure,” Alibaba Cloud Intelligence President Jeff Zhang said in a release.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022