BuzzFeed is the latest victim for the hacking group OurMine, as the latter retaliated against the news outlet for its attempt to expose one of its members.
On Oct. 4, BuzzFeed published a story that claims that one of the hackers involved in OurMine is a teen in Saudi Arabia named Ahmad Makki. OurMine initially denied the report by saying that the said person was simply a fan of the group.
"Hacked by OurMine," the titles of the vandalized posts read. The bodies of the articles were also changed to "Hacked by OurMine team, don't share fake news about us again, we have your database. Next time it will be public. Don't f*ck with OurMine again."
The attack launched by OurMine against BuzzFeed did not go unnoticed, with the vandalized articles being taken down within minutes from the attack. A tweet sent out through the BuzzFeed News account confirmed the hacking, with the company stating that it will be restoring the altered posts including the original report on Ahmad Makki. BuzzFeed, however, did not release further details on how OurMine was able to infiltrate its systems.
The Guardian reached out to the hacking group to ask for more details regarding the database that OurMine mentioned in its message. The group answered by claiming that the database contained the e-mail addresses, usernames and password hashes, presumably of the writers and employees of the media company.
OurMine has taken credit for several high-profile hacking attacks, the last of which was a security breach on entertainment news outlet Variety. The group then spammed the e-mail inboxes of the subscribers of Variety's newsletter.
As with most of its other attacks, OurMine said that it launched the hack on Variety simply to test its security. Other previous targets of the group include the Google CEO Sundar Pichai's Quora account, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's account on Twitter and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Pinterest and Twitter accounts.
According to the Guardian, the group is out to make a name for themselves as "white hat" hackers who can be hired as consultants on information security. The group does not make money from its high-profile attacks, one of the members said, but it does make money to the tune of between $20,000 and $40,000 per month on security consultations.
No matter what the truth behind OurMine's actions is, one thing is for sure, and that is the group is bringing the topic of cybersecurity into the limelight.