Grimes Takes Credit For A 2012 Cyber Attack That Took Indie Blog Hipster Runoff Offline

For those too young to remember, Hipster Runoff was a popular indie music blog that ran from 2007 to 2013. Perhaps the site’s most enduring claim to fame is coining the term “chillwave” in the early ’00s. A not-so-chill moment in the site’s history is when it was the victim of a cyber attack in 2012, about which Carles, the site’s anonymous creator and writer, told Motherboard at the time, “My hosting company and support team say that there are signs of foul play on the server, and some of the last actions before it crashed are very suspicious.”

Now, it looks like we know who perpetrated the attack, as Grimes is claiming responsibility.

In a recent Vanity Fair video, Grimes tell the story behind a 2012 photo of her and a female friend kissing. She explains:

“Back in the day, before the woke era, like, I actually got canceled for this, which is so crazy. I was just at a party with my friends, somebody took this photo, and it got leaked to this website called Hipster Runoff. And then he [Carles], like, ran this story, and this was, like… I was trying to be like all integrity and, you know, like, start my career. And it was, like, ‘Grimes gone wild’ or something. And it was just this, like, super wack, like, mean story. And it was, like, this meme that was going all over the internet.

But my friend who worked for — I will not say which video game — had access to… OK, well I don’t wanna get him in trouble, but, anyway, we were actually able to DDoS Hipster Runoff and basically blackmail them. We were like, like, ‘We’re not gonna let you run your… put your site back up until you take the story down.’ And he did, in fact, take the story down, and it was like my coolest hacker moment. So, yeah, that’s the story of this photo.”

Cloudflare defines a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack as “a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, service, or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic. DDoS attacks achieve effectiveness by utilizing multiple compromised computer systems as sources of attack traffic. Exploited machines can include computers and other networked resources such as IoT devices. From a high level, a DDoS attack is like an unexpected traffic jam clogging up the highway, preventing regular traffic from arriving at its destination.”

Pitchfork notes DDoS attacks are illegal in the US and continues, “The attacks are deemed unlawful conduct per 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A): ‘Whoever — knowingly causes the transmission of a program, information, code, or command, and as a result of such conduct, intentionally causes damage without authorization, to a protected computer… shall be punished [with]… a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than ten years.'”