Reddit chaos continues, hackers demand $4.5 million ransom, community remains in the dark

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Reddit hackers demand ransom

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Photo credit: Reddit

As the Reddit blackout chaos continues, a hacker group claimed responsibility for the February 2023 hack.

BlackCat ransomware group claims to be behind the attack and stole 80GB of data from the company. Now the group is demanding $4.5 million and a rollback of the planned API changes. Reddit’s API changes aim to make it harder for AI companies like OpenAI to train their large language models on “free” data. But third-party Reddit apps and moderators are also falling into Reddit’s widespread web — losses that Reddit is apparently willing to make.

In February 2023, reddit informed its users that hackers had deployed a “sophisticated and highly targeted” phishing attack to gain access to internal documents and data. This includes contract information for current Reddit employees and advertisers. Reddit said at the time the group got away with no user data that wasn’t already public.

The BlackCat group’s claims regarding API pricing follow reddit’s controversial decision to restrict API access starting July 1. From that date, many third-party apps used to access Reddit communities will no longer be available. Several moderators from popular communities like r/Music and other platforms have hidden their work in protest – and remain restricted in some ways. Reddit is working on it Remove the unpaid moderators these communities to reopen them. However, it’s unclear what damage the removal of experienced moderation teams will do to the long-term health of the site.

The blackout is affecting Reddit’s bottom line as some advertisers are reportedly holding back campaigns on the site. “After the blackout, we will be closely monitoring user behavior on reddit and guiding clients on when to take a break,” adds Freddy Dabaghi, managing director of ad agency Crispin Porter Bogusky. It has urged customers to stop campaigns targeting Reddit communities involved in the current lockdowns.

Back then Reddit said advertisers It redirects lost impressions from redacted subreddits to homepage. But that doesn’t solve the problem for most advertisers hoping to target specific communities. “The ads would then just be shown to the masses and outside of any contextually relevant locations that advertisers want to reach with Reddit,” adds Liam Johnson, account director at digital marketing agency Brainlabs.