Hacker Claims Credit for Anti-Semitic Flyer Sent to College Campuses » ADL Blogs
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March 28, 2016

Hacker Claims Credit for Anti-Semitic Flyer Sent to College Campuses

Update — 8/2/16: ADL has received a number of complaints about a new racist and anti-Semitic flyer signed by Weev, an alias used by hacker Andrew Auernheimer. On Twitter today, Auernheimer claimed to have exploited 50,000 printers to print his latest flyer. The message, which starts with two swastikas and the title “samiz.dat,” calls for violence against anyone he does not consider white, referring to “hordes of subhuman nonwhite animals in black, Muslim, and Mexican form.” The flyer also calls for “the white community” to stop relying on “methods which are peaceful and do not scare anyone.” Weev explains, “I unequivocally support the killing of children. I believe that our enemies need such a level of atrocity inflicted upon them…So the hordes of our enemies from the blacks to the Jews to the federal agents are deserving of fates of violence so extreme that there is no limit to the acts by which can be done upon them in defense of the white race.” He goes on to call on white people to not relent in this goal “until far after their daughters are raped in front of them…thee eyes of their sons are gouged out before them…until the cries of their infants are silenced by boots stomping their brains out onto the pavement.”

Colleges around the coun­try, large and small, public and private, continue to receive anti-Semitic flyers blaming Jews for destroy­ing the coun­try “through mass immi­gra­tion and degen­er­acy” and asking people to “join us in the strug­gle for global white supremacy.” Hacker Andrew Auernheimer (also known as Weev) has claimed credit for exploiting network printers at these colleges to print these flyers.

Andrew Auernheimer in a photo posted on the Daily Stormer in 2014

Andrew Auernheimer in a photo posted on the Daily Stormer in 2014

Auernheimer, an unabashed racist and anti-Semite wrote a posting on Storify on March 25 about how he used a few lines of code to seek out insecure printers and then caused those printers to automatically print out the anti-Semitic flyer. Auernheimer elaborated on his motivation in his posting: “The key to making impact in the world is not being the smartest or knowing the most. It’s about operating asymmetrically at scale. Expend the least amount of effort for the most amount of things happening.” Auernheimer chose his message because “When you’re printing on the scale of tens or hundreds of thousands of printers, every increase in complexity makes more printers reject the message.” He added, “With scale you should prefer elegance over complexity, and what could possibly be more elegant than the inherent beauty of the swastika?”

Because Auernheimer’s code is relatively simple and he posted it online, it seems likely that others will reproduce what Auernheimer describes as his “brief experiment.” He wrote on Twitter that “the copycats are already here,” noting another round of hateful flyers were printed at UMass- Amherst.

In a March 27 interview with Motherboard, Auernheimer defended his actions, stating “I did not hack any printers. I sent them messages because they were configured to receive messages from the public.”

Anti-Semitic flyer sent to a number of college campus printers

Anti-Semitic flyer sent to a number of college campus printers

Auernheimer was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison in March 2013, reportedly charged with federal crimes for obtaining the personal data of more than 100,000 iPad owners from AT&T’s publicly accessible website.  In April 2014, according to Arstechnica, an appeals court reversed Auernheimer’s conviction and sentence because he was “charged in the wrong federal court.”

A second flyer that attacked the LGBT community appeared on printers at the University of Massachusetts and UCLA over the weekend of March 26. The flyer, which used homophobic and racist slurs, indicated that the message “has been brought to you by the Gay Ni- -er Association of America [GNAA].” GNAA is a loosely affiliated group of Internet trolls who have hacked various websites.  Though it is unclear if Auernheimer sent this flyer as well, that is the name of a group that Auernheimer was associated with when he was involved in hacking the AT&T website, exposing the names of thousands of iPad users.

Mr. Auernheimer’s anti-Semitism dates back to at least 2009, when he created several videos that contained anti-Semitic ramblings and comments.  At the time, members of the Jewish community in Portland, Oregon, contacted the ADL with concern about Auernheimer, as threatening calls were made to an area synagogue at the same time that Auernheimer released a video in which he said he was going to Portland. Law enforcement believed that Mr. Auernheimer might have been the individual who made the calls.  A security awareness alert for Jewish institutions was circulated in the Portland area.

The FBI located Auernheimer at a hotel in the San Francisco area and warned him not to go near Jewish congregations or agencies. Auernheimer allegedly told the FBI that he was disgusted by Jewish teachings but not Jews. He later speculated that some sort of important “kike event” must have been going on in Portland.  He was never charged with any crimes related to the incident, nor was it determined that he actually had made the threatening calls.

Auernheimer, who describes himself as a “white nationalist hacktivist,”  does not try to hide his racism and anti-Semitism. In an October 2014 piece on The Daily Dot, he is quoted describing himself as “a long-time critic of Judaism, black culture, immigration to Western nations, and the media’s constant stream of anti-white propaganda.” According to the article, he has a “giant swastika tattoo,” and wants the people who support him as “something of a folk hero” who beat “a controversial hacking conviction” to know that he is not just a “troll,” but is “incontrovertibly racist.”

In October 2014, on the white supremacist site the Daily Stormer (referenced on the flyer) Auernheimer ranted about “the Jews,” whom he says built “an empire of wickedness the likes the world has never seen.” He wrote, “They took control of our systems of finance and law. They hyperinflated our currency. They corrupted our daughters and demanded they subject themselves to sex work to feed their families. These are a people that have made themselves a problem in every nation they occupy, including ours.”