A web hosting company that has provided services to several controversial right-wing websites has confirmed that it has been hacked. CNN and The Washington Post report that the information has been made public by hacking collective Anonymous.
CNN and The Post report that 150 gigabytes of previously private data have been made public. Experts believe that the massive hack could shed more light on the far-right groups that attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election and or advocate for violence against certain racial and ethnic groups.
The hosting company, Epik, has made a name for itself by providing web hosting capabilities to far-right groups who have been kicked offline by other companies who refuse to host their hateful content.
In recent years, Epik has provided hosting services to 8chan (a website that hosted the racist manifesto of a gunman who killed 51 people at a mosque shooting in New Zealand), Gab (a social media site that hosted the antisemitic rants of the Pittsburgh synagogue gunman) and Parler (an app on which some users coordinated the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol).
Epik was also in the news earlier this month for providing hosting capabilities to the Texas Right to Life's "Abortion Whistleblower" page — an online form that was ultimately removed because Epik said it violated its terms of service.
On Sept. 13, independent journalist Steven Monacelli was the first to report that the hackers had stolen the private information about Epik's clients. Days later, Epik confirmed that "certain customer information for our domain-related systems was accessed and downloaded by unauthorized third parties."
According to The Post and CNN, Anonymous has taken credit for the hack. The internet vigilantes are known for conducting political activism through cyberhacking.
The Post adds that since the hack, Epik's security protocols "have been the target of ridicule among researchers" who say the company failed to take basic security precautions.
CNN spoke to experts who said that researchers would spend "months" pouring over the now-public data. They say the hack will likely provide new insight into the far-right ecosystem and the leaders of many of the U.S.'s most prominent hate groups.