Hacked Mac sites exposed as PR stunt

“A McAfee security researcher Tuesday warned that a self-proclaimed Mac user had hacked and defaced two Mac fan sites for… excessive fandom,” Thomas Claburn reports for InformationWeek. “A screen shot of the hack reads, ‘This site has been flagged for excessive Apple fanboism, and has been taken down for 24 hours.’ The image depicts a green Apple riddled with worms.”

“Take that, AppleMatters.com and iPhoneMatters.com. ‘This is possibly the first time a hacker is targeting Mac-related Web sites,’ said McAfee security researcher Harish Garg in a blog post on Tuesday,” Claburn reports.

“But the AppleMatters.com hack turned out to be nothing of the sort and before Tuesday came to a close, founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief Hadley Stern was doing his best to dispel the suggestion that EllisLab’s ExpressionEngine software, used to publish AppleMatters.com, might be vulnerable to attack,” Claburn reports.

“‘When I was first approached about the hoax I thought it was a little harmless fun,’ Stern said in a blog post on Tuesday,” Claburn reports. “‘I am literally shaking right now because I did not fully understand the impact of this, so lesson learnt. Again, Apple Matters, running on ExpressionEngine, was in no way hacked. It was a joke publicity stunt that I thought would be funny to attract attention.'”

Claburn reports, “An apology posted by John Casasanta, who runs the MacHeist site, which was involved with the ‘hack,’ also stressed that AppleMatters.com’s Web host and CMS software were in no way deficient. ‘We really hope that the people behind the ‘hacked’ sites, their hosting compaines, and the companies that create their content management systems aren’t looked upon negatively by you all,’ he said in a forum post. ‘The intent of everyone wasn’t malicious but just to have some fun.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: ‘Twas obviously a hoax since we — who are often held up as the poster boys for “excessive Apple fanboism” by those who don’t appreciate the truth — have long used the excellent ExpressionEngine and remained “unhacked” throughout the debacle.


  1. Eliis Lab should sue these idiots. Expression Engine took a huge PR hit as news spread that there must be a vunerability in EE. Ellis Lab has had to actively dispel this, all because these guys decided that they could eek out some extra AdSense revenue by “promoting” their blogs via this hoax.

    I hope their sites lose all of their readership.

  2. As reliable as Expression Engine & Apple computers claim to be, *no* system on the planet is safe from the threat of management.

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  3. @Edgy,

    With this stupid stunt, AppleMatters has finally lost me for good… Actually, I had not been reading that site regularly in at leats a year now… I used to like the site, but they steadily and regularly increased the number of badly researched articles being written by amateurs who don’t even meet C|NET’s and ZDNET’s amazingly low standards. Like those two, Microsoft, Dell, and about 99% of American business, the stupidity starts at the top and spreads like a cancer throughout, eventually killing the host organism and leaving just a pulsing mass of purified stupid.

  4. I just bopped over to the Infoweak article and noted that nether Infoweak or McCalfe offered a retraction. They both imply the Mac Community is too smug to take this joke seriously. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  5. I removed all sites involved from my RSS reader. I will not support such behavior. They played a game with their readers, there hosts, the makers of their content management systems. It was all around a very rotten thing to do!

    MDN Magic Word: “consider” – Next time consider what the heck you are doing people!

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