In what is becoming a miserably familiar return, professional hackers have targeted a popular website in an attempt to rescue the owners. This time it is Poke beach, an 18-year-old site dedicated to the Pokémon trading card game, which as a result of failed hacker attempts have lost huge pieces of the site’s history.
“PokeBeach was hacked on Monday,” begins an explanatory post by the site creator, Jon Sahagian, known pseudonymously as Master Pokémon Water. “All the leaves have been removed. We have been assessing the situation for the last 72 hours. I have barely slept.”
The very popular Pokémon TCG site (boasting almost 4m visitors May this year) was started by Sahagian when he was 14 years old. On Monday, hackers deleted nearly two decades of files from the site’s servers, and even launched scripts to remove backups. His intention was to keep a copy for himself, and then use it to blackmail Sahagian into paying to have it restored.
Due to the efforts of the site hosts, the hackers were prevented from finishing downloading the site, but not before the attackers had already deleted backup versions. As their attack was interrupted, Sahagian said they had “issued a command to clean up.”
While the text of the site’s news archive, and forum posts, have not been affected, the “last few years” of the media have been erased. As the one who runs a website will tell you, losing images is scary, and makes everything look broken.
Fortunately the pirates ’worst efforts failed. An attempt to redirect site supporters to pay money into the group’s PayPal account failed, and PayPal confirmed that no transaction had been made. In addition his rather pathetic attempt to suggest that Sahagian send them some rare Pokémon cards in exchange for “some of my leaves” it was sensibly ignored.
Sahagian claims that there was no access to any of its databases, and that “no news, forum posts, or user accounts were affected.” Presumably this means that attackers were not able to access the root, and instead took advantage of exploits in the site’s CMS installation.
We approached Jon Sahagian via Twitter DM to see if there is any news on the recovery efforts. “We have been able to recover tens of thousands of files,” he told us, “but the recovery software is not able to reconstruct its file names or its folder structure. Removing all these files is simply not possible.” .
This is devastating for anyone who has put so much effort into a lifelong project. “I started PokeBeach when I was 14 and I never stopped,” adds Sahagian. “I’ve been writing news every day about the Pokémon TCG for 18 years, from high school to graduate school, to my career as a filmmaker. I don’t know many people who stick to a project through so many phases of their lives.” life. So it’s very frustrating that those who don’t care about someone’s passion destroy it so quickly and without much thought. “
People who want to support you Poke beach should be able to access their PayPal-funded Article program from this link when it is repaired later today.