Craigslist is an amazingly popular site because it helps everyday people connect to buy used goods, find jobs and more. Despite its outdated design, the site has managed to become the 29th largest website in the U.S. because of the unique services it provides.
That popularity also made it the perfect target for a hacker looking to attract a large audience late last weekend. If you tried to search the site during that time, odds are you were redirected to a bizarre YouTube video.
Instead of arriving at that sultry sea of classifieds, you were probably sent to DigitalGangster.com. Then, you were likely redirected to YouTube, where a very strange animated rap video filled your ears with lyrics about freedom, privacy, and net neutrality.
The video includes characters akin to hackers and privacy advocates being imprisoned by "The Man" while lyrics promoting online privacy and net neutrality play. Halfway through the video, the animation becomes half-finished. It's all very weird.
It doesn't appear the hacker was after money or personal information. In fact, the method the hacker used shows that whoever he or she is just wanted to attract people to the video. The cyberactivist didn't actually hack into the website at all.
The hacker used a technique called DNS hijacking which gives them control over a domain without actually requiring them to hack into the website. In effect, you could hijack CIA.gov to redirect to that silly half-finished rap video, but Craigslist.org gets much, much more traffic.
Whoever did it also changed the registrant name and company to steven wynhoff [at] LulzClerk.
The odd YouTube video and unique motivations aren't the only weird thing about this situation. The story only gets stranger when we try and find out who actually did it.