Popular hacker destination taken down in DDoS attack

By on January 4, 2012, 6:00 PM

Pastebin, a favorite destination for hackers with a public message, was taken down earlier in what appeared to be a distributed denial of service attack. Although Pastebin seems to have it under control for now, no one yet has claimed responsibility.

On Tuesday, Pastebin tweeted, "DDOS attack on pastebin, we are working on it..." and shortly added, "Slowly getting things back under control. Sorry for the downtime & slow loading site guys, we are doing our best to stop this attack."

There has been no word on the origin of attacks, but various hacktivist groups such as Anonymous use Pastebin to upload blobs of text which are referred to as "pastes". These public uploads often include pilfered information, open letters and other controversial or otherwise sensitive materials. 

Shortly after the DDoS subsided, Anonymous dove right back into Pastebin, posting new material and Pastebin links on Twitter.

Nearly a decade ago, Pastebin offered an easy way to share blocks of texts for and to the public. This service was originally intended to help programmers easily share code. However, since its inception, the destination has become a haven for activists (ie. the Occupy movement) and hackers (ie. anonymous) who leverage it as a simple platform for getting their messages across. 

The owner of Pastebin, Jeroen Vader, had a discussion with the New York Times regarding the increasing misusage of its service, "Usually we always remove Dox items, but this one got a lot of exposure," he said about a particularly controversial paste, "we usually don’t remove very popular items unless we get a direct removal request from the authorities".

"Dox" refers to a sensitive document, one that typically contains personal details about an individual or group of individuals.

Although the company's terms of service indicate controversial or heavily visited pastes may be deleted at any time, Pastebin has traditionally been very tolerant of user generated content.

While the website is certainly not anonymous and affords no such protection for its users, Vader points out that IP obfuscation techniques work very well and effectively makes the service anonymous for those who put forth the effort. This, in conjunction with lenient enforcement, may be the reason it has become such a popular destination for controversial texts.

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