06 December 2007
Posted in NZ
MacNN is reporting the conclusion of a web prank that appears to have backfired, carried out by a number of sites including the personal site of the web editor of New Zealand Macguide, Glenn Wolsey. In what appears to have been a poorly considered prank intended to then base a promotion off, a number of sites suggested that they had been hacked and that in the midst of the claims, one of those involved invented an explanation pointing to a nonexistent issue with the open source Wordpress software.
In reality the hacker known as Malcor (who claimed responsibility for the site attacks) was a creation of the group. They appear to have had little regard for the impact their claims of site hacking would have, including fruitless investigations by the hosting company and those that develop the Wordpress software.
All those involved have now apologised, but many are not happy over events, including open source software developer Ty Jang who stated, "The fact that the above-mentioned people have the audacity to publicly disrespect our hard work, in the name of profit, is infuriating."
According to MacNN, events began last month when Glenn Wolsey's site appeared to have been defaced. This was just the start of a number of sites making such claims. In reality, Mr. Wolsey had given access to his site to those developing the prank.
What seems worse is that as the prank unfolded, there appeared to be little effort by the group to admit that it was in fact a staged activity, leading to increasing concern within the Apple and open source community according to MacNN.
All have now apologised publicly on their websites, including Glenn, who states...
"Keeping it simple, I've felt like absolute crap over the past week knowing all this has gone on. I'm upset with myself that I let everything get this far. I'm disappointed that I let YOU down, something which will not happen again. I'm young, I made a mistake, and I know it. That's the great thing about life, you live and you learn. I learnt something from the past week - and learnt something for the better, not the worse."
Whilst such an apology seems sincere, it is difficult to believe the tones expressed of naivety in relation to handing over details concerning technical access of your site to anyone. Others apologising seem to not be overly concerned, posting under headings such as "Woops, I did it again", with tongue-in-cheek comments such as "Now if you'll just excuse me while I slip into this asbestos layered suit.", pre-acknowledging the obvious flaming they were about to receive from web and Mac users. Other apologies seem a little more genuine.
It seems that all those involved see the episode as a learning experience, but the publicity it has generated will no doubt be the kind that the group involved didn't want. The MacHeist site received a lot of positive publicity for their software bundle previously, but not all were supportive of their approach. With calls to boycott the new MacHeist event, it may ultimately become an expensive learning experience for those involved.
- There is no suggestion that New Zealand Macguide was involved in the prank in any way.
- Comment was not and will not be sought from Glenn, because (a) he comments on his website about the event and this is linked to above, and (b) his website says he is currently away