Hackers Hit Buzzfeed, Claim to Have Database

The hacker or hackers claimed affiliation with OurMine, which has targeted high profile social media accounts.

Oct 5 2016, 1:57pm

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On Wednesday, someone claiming affiliation with the hacking group OurMine breached a section of Buzzfeed's website, and defaced a handful of articles. The hacker or hackers also claimed to have a copy of the site's database.

"HACKED BY OURMINE," a headline on one article reads.

"Don't share fake news about us again, we have your database. Next time it will be public. thoseDon't fuck with OurMine again," the page continues.

Screenshot: Joseph Cox/Motherboard

According to a Google search of cached Buzzfeed pages, at least three articles briefly have had their headline changed to "Hacked By OurMine," or some variation of that. On Wednesday morning, two of those articles return page not found errors, and the third, written by UK staffer Kimberley Dadds, appears to have been changed back to its original version.

Screenshot: Joseph Cox/Motherboard

OurMine has drawn attention to itself after gaining access to the social media accounts of various company CEOs and other high profile staffers, as well as celebrities. Typically, the group will tweet or otherwise publicly broadcast a link to their own website from the compromised account, and claim that their motivation was to improve the user's security. The group offers paid services for securing accounts.

Over the summer, a slew of massive data breaches finally came to light, which included, in many cases, email addresses and passwords of millions of people. Hackers can then use those credentials against other sites in the hope that they work as well. Indeed, password reuse is one of the main ways OurMine has accessed accounts, but access from third-party applications is also an issue.

The Buzzfeed News Twitter account posted a brief statement, saying that the hacks came after "a BuzzFeed News article reported that a Saudi teenager is most likely behind scores of hacks of tech CEOs and celebrities." That article is currently offline, and was perhaps deleted by the hackers, judging by Buzzfeed's statement.

"BuzzFeed News is working to restore the altered articles, including the original report on the group," the company's continued.

OurMine published a short message on its website, referencing the Buzzfeed News article allegedly identifying one of its members, and adding, "we hacked it because they are reporting fake news about us."

Media companies have a long history of being targeted by hackers. The hacker known as w0rm breached the Wall Street Journal, VICE, and other publications in 2014. Gawker Media also fell victim to an attack, and hackers leaked staff and user passwords.