The celebrity hacking group Lulz Security borrows its name and aesthetics from the roiling message board 4chan. But now the group has declared war on 4chan and its users—many of whom identify with the hacking group Anonymous—pissing off the nerds who are most likely to support their online shenanigans.
It's chaos in the internet's crotch: 4chan was down for much of the afternoon. Lulz Security, the hacking group behind well-publicized PBS and FBI-affiliate hacks, is openly taunting 4channers and members of Anonymous, even crowd-sourcing prank calls against 4chan's web hosting company via their hotline: 614-LULZSEC. In response, 4chan users launched an internet manhunt to track down members of Lulzsec.
The conflict started, as most nerd fights do, over video games. Yesterday, Lulzsec engaged in a spree of hack attacks against gaming and gamers: They downed The Escapist magazine because some commenters said mean stuff about them, then took the games Eve Online, Minecraft and League of Legends—all 4chan favorites—offline. Lulzsec has demonstrated a strange fixation on hacking video game companies, hacking Sony repeatedly. And when they hit the game studio Bethesda, they gave it top billing over their "bonus" hacking of the U.S. Senate's website. (After all, the Senate didn't make the acclaimed Elder Scrolls series of roleplaying games!)
But Tuesday's hacks went too far, it seems. Enraged 4chan users took to their anarchic /b/ forum yesterday and fired up the hivemind, intending to hunt down and punish Lulzsec members. "If you know who these fuckers are… phone the fucking FBI," read a widely-circulated 4chan poster. Before 4chan crashed, the hivemind had incorrectly identified a Maine newspaper editor as a Lulzsec ringleader.
"You /b/tards realize that we are everything you've ever wanted to be? Damn furries," Lulzsec tweeted in response. (Most of their 4chan-baiting tweets have been deleted.) Lulzsec also made the more serious claim that they had infected "50%" of all 4channers' computers, turning them into zombies they would use to attack other targets.
Why would Lulzsec, a splinter group comprised of former Anonymous members, piss in their own, already-filthy pool? This can be seen as the latest in an endless series of 4chan civil wars, which break out between users who disagree slightly about the correct way to fuck shit up on the internet. By attacking one of the few things 4channers actually like, Lulzsec out-4channed 4chan.
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