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Hackergate thread part three - PLEASE read

(1000 Posts)
TheOnlyOliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 19-Aug-15 12:10:42

Hi all,

This thread is about to max out please continue here and we will update with info as an when we have it.

We will get to all emails and reports but it may take some time Huge apologies.

Here is Justine's OP from the previous thread:

On the night of Tuesday 11 August, Mumsnet came under attack from what's known as a denial of service (DDoS) attack. Our servers were bombarded with requests, which required our internet service provider to massively increase server capacity to cope. We were able to restore the site at 10am on Wednesday 12 August. Meanwhile a Twitter account, @DadSecurity, claimed responsibility, saying in various tweets "Now is the start of something wonderful", "RIP Mumsnet", "Nothing will be normal anymore" and "Our DDoS attacks are keeping you offline".

To add to the 'fun', it seems @DadSecurity also resorted to Swatting attacks. Swatting is a criminal practice in which someone makes an emergency call to the police claiming that a crime is taking place at the house of the intended victim, in order to get them to send a swat team to the address.

An armed response team turned up at my house last week in the middle of the night, after reports of a gunman prowling around. A Mumsnet user who engaged with @DadSecurity on Twitter was warned to "prepare to be swatted by the best" in a tweet that included a picture of a swat team, after which police arrived at her house late at night following a report of gunshots. Needless to say, she and her young family were pretty shaken up. It's worth saying that we don't believe these addresses were gained directly from any Mumsnet hack, as we don't collect addresses. The police are investigating both instances.

@DadSecurity also claimed that he had access to Mumsnet user data. Later on 12 August, it became apparent that someone/ones had hacked into some of Mumsnet's administrative functions, at which point they were able to redirect our homepage to the @DadSecurity Twitter profile page, as well as to edit posts from two users' account and an MNHQ account on our forums.

Someone claiming to be the hacker also posted on the thread on which users were discussing the site outage. We immediately locked down all access to our admin functions and reported the attack to the police. We were confident that users' passwords had not been accessed, because MNHQ doesn't hold them as plain text; they're all encrypted, so that no one - not even us - can see them.

However, over the weekend, a user reported that posts had been made under her name which weren't by her, and we spotted two other cases where this had happened. This clearly suggested that the hacker had nonetheless been able to get hold of some users' passwords.

Our best guess at this stage (and it is just a best guess) is that this has been done via a form of phishing, in which the hacker creates a fake Mumsnet login page to which users are directed when clicking on our login button. The page would have had a different url but otherwise would look just like the usual page. The hacker would have been able to see passwords in plain text when they were typed in.

We take great care to protect the information you give us and not to ask for or store any more information than we need to run the site, but though we can't know how many accounts have been affected, there have been enough breaches for us to ask all Mumsnet users to change their passwords. As a result, you'll no longer be able to log in to Mumsnet with your current password, and will need to create a new one, here.

This will mean that any passwords the hacker has been able to harvest up to this point will be useless. We are looking into what we can do to strengthen our defences against phishing, but in the meantime we need to ask you to be vigilant, and to check the URL of the login page for the foreseeable future. The correct URL is and it reads https:// rather than http:// at the beginning. We will place a warning on the login page reminding you to do this.

Alternatively use the social login option (ie Facebook/Google) as then you won't be required to enter a password. And if you log into any other sites using the same password that you use on Mumsnet, it makes sense to change your password on those sites, too.

We're really sorry for the alarm and inconvenience this might cause, and we realise you're likely to have further questions about what's been happening, so here's a summary of answers to the most obvious questions.

You say the hacker was able to access Mumsnet users' data: was data from my personal account accessed?
We have no way of knowing how many Mumsnetters were affected - so far we have evidence of 11 user accounts being hacked but it's an ongoing investigation. Those users have been informed, and their passwords have been reset. We think it prudent, however, that everyone reset their passwords - which in any case is a sensible thing to do from time to time.

What data could the hacker see?
By using your password and login, he would have been able to see the data on your profile - so that includes your username or email plus your password, your postcode if you've supplied it, your username history and your Mumsnet inbox.

Now that I've changed my password, can you guarantee that my data is safe?
Unfortunately, we can't give you a cast-iron guarantee of this - no site can. By forcing a password reset the hacker won't be able to log in as you; however, if phishing was the cause, the page could be phished again, which is why it's important that you check the URL of the login page when you enter your details, or use your social login. If the URL is anything other than, don't use it.

Final thoughts
The internet is of course brilliant, but it's not 100% safe and secure. Whenever you share anything on the web, either publicly (such as on a Mumsnet thread) or privately (such as the data you give to a website when signing up), have a think about how happy you'd be for that information to fall into the hands of someone else. Make your passwords as secure as possible and change them every few months. Use different passwords for different accounts. Close redundant accounts that you no longer use.

And if you read nothing else...
I do realise this post is long, so here's a quick summary:

DO reset your Mumsnet password
DO make passwords really strong to reduce the risk of them being guessed
DO check the URL of any login page to reduce risk of phishing
DO verify that https:// is being used on login pages
DO use social login to avoid typing passwords
DON'T give out information to any organisations without verifying they are who they say they are (such as the fake @mumsnetsupport twitter account that had also been started but has now been removed by Twitter)

Please post here or mail us on with any questions or thoughts. As you can imagine our inbox is fairly voluminous at the moment but we'll get back to you as quickly as we can.

Thanks very much for reading,


MagpieCursedTea Wed 19-Aug-15 12:16:59

I know it's probably low down on the priority list, but is it just me that the new app isn't working for or has it just been switched off (or whatever the technical term is) whilst we all go to the Winchester and wait for this to blow over?

JennyOnTheBlocks Wed 19-Aug-15 12:19:25


nothing to ask but sending best wishes and support for the families affected at home


AndDeepBreath Wed 19-Aug-15 13:05:10

New app isn't working for me either!

ExitPursuedByABear Wed 19-Aug-15 13:06:53

I am sure this has been already asked several times but


Why would someone do that? What were they hoping to gain?


Bogeyface Wed 19-Aug-15 13:11:31


It makes a sad pathetic person feel all big and powerful. "Oooh, I pissed off a load of women, get me! Oooh I am so big and brave that I made anonymous calls to the police to scare the shit out of 2 of them, how fantastic I am!"

Whoever it is hates women because none of them like him, and I bet he cant work out why grin

Maryz Wed 19-Aug-15 13:12:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AndDeepBreath Wed 19-Aug-15 13:14:04

No idea either. If you work it out, could you summarise if for me?smile

RepeatAdNauseum Wed 19-Aug-15 13:14:55

I'm pretty sure it's not because of a phishing link.

An old username of mine is on the list. I haven't logged in under the username for a long time. Newer usernames are not on the list.

I also work in IT and don't click links, and I have corporate level antivirus which flags up phishing attempts, which while not totally bulletproof do back up my belief that this wasn't phishing.

BreeVDKamp Wed 19-Aug-15 13:15:18

Arrrgh I can't log in with my normal address as the password reset emails aren't being sent to me even though I've requested one twice. I'm sure there must be lots of people who have questions but can't ask them as they can't log in because they can't change their password.

Poor MNHQ must be inundated! Think they've handled it well though.

Apparently my details are on some list or something. Eek!

AndDeepBreath Wed 19-Aug-15 13:15:58

Repeat, where's the list?

BreeVDKamp Wed 19-Aug-15 13:17:05

I cannot BELIEVE someone sent SWAT TEAMS to people's houses. Who the fuck does that. Hope he goes to prison! Horrible experience to say the last I'm sure!

SavoyCabbage Wed 19-Aug-15 13:17:40

The list is on the thread 'am I on the list' which is in chat.

tribpot Wed 19-Aug-15 13:20:39

MaryZ, you'll want to be here.

Fiderer Wed 19-Aug-15 13:22:08

I'm on the list also and didn't have to type in my password in the last 10 days. The page said Log In but the info was already there.

I just got Fiderer / password ........ and then clicked log in.

Is that also phishing?

TheRealNotSoSlimThrowsShady Wed 19-Aug-15 13:22:25

I am delighted Maryz
Summary: tech are still working on stuff but despite honey badger asking many times, no one has answered why the site was not taken off-line or advance search blocked or how long deregistering will take. At least, last time I looked.

tomatodizzymum Wed 19-Aug-15 13:22:38

I think it's probably a man who was abusive and whose partner posted on MN about what a twat he was, and all the MNetters told her to leave she did. This is his idea of revenge because instead of realising that he's the one who is at fault, he lashes out blame at everyone and anyone else, other than himself. Do they have mirrors in prison? When this is over he might have a lot of time to start taking a long hard look at himself.

ExitPursuedByABear Wed 19-Aug-15 13:23:48

I am not on the list - although I haven't checked for all my random name changes.

Should I be a bit disappointed?

Like not being picked for the netball team? Again.

MagpieCursedTea Wed 19-Aug-15 13:25:20

I was surprised the police hadn't caught him, surely there'll be a record of who made the calls to the police? I'm guessing he's covered his tracks well. Hopefully his arrogance will trip him up soon.

FunnysInLaJardin Wed 19-Aug-15 13:25:51

I wonder if I am on the list as when I tried to log in to a previously logged in account the email address was an old work one which I haven't used for a year or so. I thought it odd at the time tbh. Firstly that my account was logged out and second the old email address.

How do I check if I was on the list?

Girlinthefireplace Wed 19-Aug-15 13:26:16

Can we please have the ability to use special characters in our passwords?

I want a strong password including characters.

AndDeepBreath Wed 19-Aug-15 13:26:22

Thanks savoy smile

Exit, if I ever become a hacker, I promise I'll remember you grin

TheRealNotSoSlimThrowsShady Wed 19-Aug-15 13:26:54

Nope as on another thread, tech said the hacker(s) could have all users old passwords who had logged on since 6th August so that'll be anyone prolific exit
Maryz your old pw did make me smile however.

Maryz Wed 19-Aug-15 13:27:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheRealNotSoSlimThrowsShady Wed 19-Aug-15 13:29:13

Then it cannot be phishing despite tech being insistent it is.

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