Gab, a far-right social media platform that has had up to 4 million users, recently suffered a major hacking — and the platform was so compromised that countless passwords were stolen. Journalist Micah Lee discusses the hacking this week on The Intercept, reporting that former President Donald Trump's Gab account used an e-mail address belonging to Gab CEO Andrew Torba.
Lee explains, "The hacker made off with the e-mail addresses and encrypted passwords of all 4 million of the site's users and the content of more than 39 million posts, including everything posted to 7632 private groups, and leaked them to the radical transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets. On Monday, DDoSecrets released the nearly 70 gigabytes of hacked data to journalists and researchers."
Trump's "verified Gab account," Lee notes, was one of the ones that was compromised.
According to Lee — who is on the DDoSecrets advisory board — "When I got my hands on the Gab data, the first thing I did was look up Trump's account. And the first thing I noticed was the e-mail address associated with it: firstname.lastname@example.org. Why was Trump using this obscure e-mail address, and what is Kuhcoon? It turns out that Torba, the current CEO of Gab, is the former CEO and founder of Kuhcoon — later renamed Automate Ads, and acquired by AdHawk in 2017 — a tech startup that offered automated Facebook ad campaigns."
Lee adds that according to a 2015 interview with Wishbone, Torba co-founded Kuhcoon in 2011. In August 2016, after Torba resigned from his position as Kuhcoon's CEO, he founded Gab with associate Ekrem Büyükkaya.
"Trump's account is the only one on Gab that uses an e-mail address from Kuhcoon.com," Lee notes. "I sent an e-mail to email@example.com, but the e-mail bounced."
Lee reports that although Torba didn't reply directly to an e-mail he sent, he did post some tweets in response:
Far-right Gab users have included activist Milo Yiannopoulos, conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, White supremacist Richard Spencer and Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado. The QAnon conspiracy cult has also had a major presence on Gab.