Inside the Hack that Blew Up Myspace

Motherboard’s new show animates famous incidents of computer hacking.

|
Jun 1 2016, 9:37pm

Hollywood has struggled to dramatize computer crime for years because as destructive as it is, hacking usually doesn't look like much—it just looks like a person typing at a computer. If you've ever watched a Capture the Flag competition, in which teams try to hack each other, the most action you're likely to see is someone crushing an empty can of Red Bull.

And yet, hackers victimize huge numbers of people. They have for decades. Thirty-two years ago, on June 1, 1984, hackers broke into the global credit information bureau TRW, now Experian, affecting 90 million customer records. "CREDIT FILE PASSWORD IS STOLEN," wrote The New York Times. Just last year, Experian got hacked again when someone lifted info on 15 million people, including Social Security numbers, from a database it was maintaining for T-Mobile.

What does it feel like to pull off a crime of this magnitude? What was going through these hackers' heads? Did they have to break through sophisticated digital security measures, or was the door simply left open?

In a new animated series, Motherboard will capture the drama and comedy; the jubilation and terror; the crime and punishment of the Greatest Moments in Hacking History.

In this first episode, watch Samy Kamkar recount how he took down what was at the time, the biggest website in the US: Myspace.

Stories