People Are Making the FCC Host 'Rick and Morty' GIFs

What is going on?

by Jordan Pearson
Aug 31 2017, 3:33pm

Screengrab: YouTube

If you didn't know any better, it might really seem like the US Federal Communications Commision is absolutely losing it.

First, an official-looking document calling FCC chairman Ajit Pai a "cuck" made the rounds online, made even more convincing since it was hosted on the FCC's own servers. Gizmodo saw it and noted that it seemed to be hosted on the FCC's net neutrality comments database, which is setup to allow anyone to upload their comments on the topic.

As for what's going on here, Hacker Noon's Guise Bule wrote in a Medium post that the FCC's comment-filing system lets pretty much anybody with a little bit of know-how to upload anything they want. According to Bule, folks have managed to upload GIFs and even .exe files up to 25 megabytes in size.

That fake memo alone would have been weird enough, but right now folks on Twitter are posting FCC-hosted media that contains everything from goat memes to Rick and Morty GIFs. Basically, people are treating the FCC like their own personal cloud storage.

This oversight could allow someone to upload malware to the FCC's servers, Bule wrote, but it could just as easily (and perhaps more likely) be used for things like uploading a GIF that contains an entire Spongebob Squarepants episode to government servers.

In an emailed statement to Motherboard, FCC spokesperson Brian Hart said that the Commission is taking steps to ensure no malware was uploaded to its servers.

"The FCC comment system is designed to maximize inclusiveness and part of that system allows anyone to upload a document as a public comment, which is what happened in this case," Hart wrote in an email. "The Commission has had procedures in place to prevent malware from being uploaded to the comment system. And the FCC is running additional scans and taking additional steps with its cloud partners to make sure no known malware has been uploaded to the comment system."

Maybe the folks at the FCC are Rick and Morty fans?

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UPDATE: This article has been updated to include comment from the FCC.