Is This the 20 Year Old Hacker Wreaking Havoc With Journalists Everywhere?

Illustration for article titled Is This the 20 Year Old Hacker Wreaking Havoc With Journalists Everywhere?

Security writer Brian Krebs has stumbled across new information which could link the recent hack of his own website with attacks on Ars Technica and Gizmodo alumnus Mat Honan's iCloud breach.


Following his own lead—that he was the target of a team of hackers annoyed by an article he wrote about a black market website that trades social security numbers—Krebs discovered evidence that the attacks on his website may have been conducted by a hacker known as Phobia. Krebs explains that he believes Phobia is part of a four-person Xbox Live gamer team called Team Hype, which has a taste for hijacking Xbox Live Gamertags.

Then, though, Krebs managed to find a Twitter account linked to the attacker Phobia, and even dug out personal information about him—including his real name (Ryan Stevenson), address and phone number. Bad job, Phobia. Bad. Job. Anyway, Krebs then gave the guy a call, and the transcript makes for fascinating reading:

Krebs: I'm looking at a story in Wired magazine from Mat Honan about how his Apple iCloud account was hacked. Do you know this guy?
Ryan: Yeah, I used to.
K: Uh huh. And is Honan referring to you in this article?
R: Yeah.
K: Yes?
R: Uh huh.
K: Did anything bad ever happen to you because of this?
R: No.
K: So, this was your doing with the Mat Honan hack, but you say you would never use a site like a stresser or…
R: Yeah, I would never do that. That's stupid.
K: …or hack a reporter's account or launch a denial of service attack against a reporter, or SWAT his house….
K: So what's the point of hacking a reporter's iCloud account? Why'd you do that?
R: Just to prove a point that, like…the security is breachable.

Since Krebs published all this on his blog, a YouTube channel related to Phobia and Team Hype has been wiped clean, and Ars Technica has gone on the record as saying that Phobia may have masterminded a recent DOS attack on its servers. We heartily recommend you read Krebs' account in full—it's really very interesting. [Krebs via Mat Honan]

Image by gualtiero boffi/Shutterstock




The fact that the hacker is wearing a balaclava is hilarious. I bet he's in the process of typing "hack database" or something.