'Patriot' Hacker Forces School-Massacre Twitter Feed Offline

Paul Wagenseil, SecurityNewsDaily Managing Editor

Score another one for the Jester.

On Friday (Dec. 14), the shadowy "patriot hacker" was instrumental in taking down a Twitter account that mocked the victims of that morning's Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre.

The account, at @z0bm13d, used a news photo of a bloodied, crying child as its wallpaper, and a photo of a little boy wearing bloody zombie makeup as its icon. Its displayed name was "Sandy Hook Victim."

"I now have more holes that my daddy can [have sex with]," the account posted. "I forgive Ryan Lanza for what he did to me."

(Ryan Lanza of Hoboken, N.J., was erroneously named by several news outlets Friday as the Newtown shooter. The killer was actually his younger brother, Adam Lanza, who appeared to have been carrying identification naming him as Ryan Lanza.)

Public outcry

It's not clear how quickly the alarm was raised, but on Friday evening a Twitter account at @GonzoPhD posted, "I never do this so listen to me this one time — report this sick piece of [garbage] .@z0mb13d for parodying today's shootings."

The Jester, whose Twitter account is @th3j35t3r, and whose activities are mostly limited to attacking Islamic extremist websites, noticed and tried to alert Twitter management directly.

"@twitter @support @safety 'FIX' THIS >> @z0mb13d," he tweeted. "Retrieve any IP details logged, pass to LEA's, I'd be happy to give perp some 'bad news'."

But it seemed the Jester, who has managed to keep his own identity secret, wasn't willing to wait for Twitter to take action.

"Only hope is a very clever SE [social engineering] attack," he tweeted. "@z0mb13d I have a very particular set of skills acquired over a long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like u."

(Twitter refused to comment for this story. The Jester did not respond to a request for comment.)

[Can Mental Screening Prevent Mass Murder?]

Connecting the dots

First, the Jester said, he looked at @z0mb13d's followers and quickly correlated them to a similarly named group in the Steam online-gaming community.

"Guy behind this despicable account >@z0mb13d is part of 'zomb13' gaming crew on steam, look at his followers, then look at steam," the Jester wrote. "How long b4 one of ur 'buddies' rats u out as pressure mounts?"

Within a couple of hours, the Jester dug up and posted a partial telephone number belonging to a friend of the @z0mb13d account owner.

Around the same time one of @z0mb13d's first followers, whose account bore the same handle as a member of the gaming crew, closed his Twitter account.

An hour later, the Jester had linked the offensive account to an Indiana college student who worked at Dairy Queen and liked the horror-rap group Insane Clown Posse — and @z0mb13d had been suspended by Twitter.

Just as soon as that small victory was achieved, however, another threat to online decency presented itself.

The Westboro Baptist Church, famed for picketing military funerals with "God Hates Fags" signs, promised via Twitter to do the same at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Soon afterwards, the Jester posted another tweet: "#WBC #Westboro baptist church site .godhatesfags.com — seems to be experiencing 'technical difficulties'."

This story was provided by TechNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience.

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