Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bilerico Project Attacked in ‘Internet Hate Crime’

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Observer Update) -, the site that hosts the popular LGBTQ political blog “The Bilerico Project,” was attacked this week by a group of Eastern European hackers who have been attempting to shut down the site for the past year and a half.

According to Bil Browning, the blog's co-owner and editor in chief, problems first started after the feminist blog Shakespeare’s Sister moved to Bilerico’s server almost two years ago for protection from the same group of hackers. The move brought the Bilerico site to the hackers’ attention and, even though Shakespeare’s Sister has since moved servers again, the hackers have been relentlessly attacking the site ever since.

“Most of the time,” Browning explains, “they only get in for a few minutes and then we catch them. This time we were bombarded in the middle of the night, and by the time we caught on, it was too late.”

The site was down completely for over nine hours and, even now, while the site is at least up and visible, a technical crew will have to spend the next several days combing through the site’s archives, looking for any traces of the hacking that remain.

“What is unusual, and maybe most disturbing,” Browning noted, “is that they didn’t leave messages on the front of the site, as most hackers do. They just took us down completely. They left no opinion, no discussion, nothing for the world to see. A coworker even referred to it as an ‘Internet hate crime.’”

Browning put a note on The Bilerico Project’s Facebook page to alert any fans of the site about what happened. The response so far, according to Browning, has been overwhelming.

“I’ve been inundated with e-mails and just hundreds of Facebook messages,” said Browning. “One message even read, ‘Here’s another gay techie. I’m yours. I’ll take the day off work.’ For someone to leave his paying job for a day to help us, that’s just incredible.”

As The Bilerico Project works to rebuild and repair after this attack, support from readers such as the “gay techie” has been heartening and is greatly appreciated by the Bilerico team. The hackers’ attempts to thwart the political site may have worked for a few hours, but clearly, an outside attack only serves to strengthen the resolve of the community.

The Bilerico Project’s site has the best possible protections in place to ward off attacks such as this -- an indication of just how sophisticated and determined this particular hacking group is, reported.

“It’s maddening,” concluded Browning, “because U.S. law says we can’t legally do a damn thing.”

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