Record Speaks with Auto Admit Hacker - 2007-11-02
The Record has reported on, editorialized about, and made fun of the Autoadmit message board (www.autoadmit.com or www.xoxohth.com) a number of times over the past two years, most recently covering HLS's panel on anonymous Internet speech ("Panel Debates Online Anonymity," April 12, 2007) and running board administrator Jarret Cohen's editorial about the same subject ("Free Expression on the Internet," April 12, 2007).
This summer, the board was hit by what seemed to be a hacker who was collecting names and information about posters by getting them to click on "trap" links that sent information to an email address. Subsequent threads, which may or may not have been real, threatened to "out" anonymous posters and even contained names of alleged Harvard Law posters. Given the racial, sexual, and otherwise offensive nature of much of the board's content, this caused serious concern. The situation seemed to die down by the time school started, but the person and motives behind the hacker, who went by "AutoAdmitWatch," were never clear.
Last week, the person behind AutoAdmitWatch approached the Record, interested in sharing some of the information he had gathered. He claimed to have gotten involved in the board out of a concern over innocent people being defamed by "anonymous idiots" online, and had discovered a great deal about the nature of student posting on Autoadmit.