Epik

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The Monster incarnate
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Anyway, Psycho JoJo Camp has now posted my home address, DOB, SSN, etc. And my wife’s. He’s thoughtfully hosted by his big admirer and supporter @robmonster. This is what happens if you represent someone adverse to Andy Ngo and @TPostMillennial apparently.
Ken White aka PopehatWikipedia,[1] after a joke candidate and convicted hacker[2][3] got angry at White for telling Andy Ngo's Canadian lawyer that his "[...] threat is also a jumbled, oily poutine of complaints [...]" among other highly entertaining, sardonic things[4]

Epik is an internet domain registrar and service hosting company (ISP). It was founded in 2009 by the appropriately-named Dutch/American Robert W. Monster[note 1] (1966 or 1967–),[6] who remains the CEO as of 2021. Monster's beliefs fit his legal name: he's a Christian libertarian,[7] biblical literalist and climate change denier.[8]

Initially, Epik focused on domain name trading and was uncontroversial. After the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, it was found that the perpetrator had used the alt-right social media site Gab to post hate speech.[9] Due to Gab facilitating hate speech, it was subsequently deplatformed by their ISP, GoDaddy, and was offered a platform by Monster.[7] Monster said of the deplatforming:

I looked at that and said, 'You know what? I don't think there was a lot of due process in terms of how the decision was made to de-platform Gab.com.[7]

Monster does not seem to understand that due process pertains primarily to legal procedure in the United States, that companies can often terminate employees without cause and terminate customers for violating terms of service however the company cares to define the terms.

Hypocrisy[edit]

Although Monster has claimed not to be a free-speech absolutist,[7] he has either been hypocritical or willfully ignorant about the nature of sites that he has allowed to be hosted. Although Epik deplatformed The Daily Stormer, citing "the possibility of violent radicalization on the platform" after three mass shootings connected to the site, Epik has still allowed Gab to continue which in turn provides Andrew Anglin, The Daily Stormer founder, a platform of 17,000 followers.[10] Monster was not ignorant of what takes place on Gab, because he had an active account there. Some of Monster's own hypocrisy on Gab:

  • Calling another account suspicious because it looks like a liberal impersonating a Nazi rather than being an actual Nazi. ("Seems like yet another fake Liberal account to be used as a prop in some media hit job.")[11]
  • Claiming to be not racist himself, but touting an avowed racist, Baptist Peter Ruckman:Wikipedia "Here is a crash course from Dr. Peter Ruckman by way of one of his many "chalk talks". Love this guy. If Dr. Ruckman was alive today, I think he would have a Gab account!"[11]
  • Stating that it is sufficient for a hosted site to have a terms-of-service agreement, not to enforce it: "Sites that have clear and lawful ToS and govern themselves accordingly should win on appeal every time. Let's hope that continues!"[11]

Monster truthiness[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Truthiness

Given how often Monster refers vaguely to 'truth' or 'incontrovertible truth',[12] when he finally got down to defining it, it involved blatant confirmation bias. He thinks that that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is on the side of truth, meaning that pathological liars such as Jones[13] are in agreement with Monster's view of 'truth':

Alex Jones and Infowars are on the side of Truth. Welcome to Epik. Like many folks who have searched for truth, I have watched Alex Jones on and off over the years. For those who would say that Alex Jones is controlled opposition, or an actor, I offer my findings from 3 'acid tests'. One of my acid tests for determining if someone is on the side of truth is whether they move their domains to E[pik]…"[14]

According to Joseph Peterson, formerly Epik's director of operations, Monster once began a staff meeting by showing a video of the Christchurch terrorist attacks and said that the video would convince the staff that the attack had been faked.[15]

Monster is either exceptionally poor at doing due diligence or exceptionally good at feigning ignorance. Monster claims to not be a racist, antisemitic or a white nationalist, but appeared on a podcast with white nationalist Eric Striker, a former writer for The Daily Stormer.[16] During that show, he stated:

You look at a guy like David Duke for example, and he has some far-right views and so forth. But he’s actually a pretty clever guy, he’s articulate. He knows history. And I don’t know the body of his work, but I have a feeling that many people grew up with this mindset that you shouldn’t listen to anything David Duke says.[16]

Duke's actual claim to 'knowing' history is writing an antisemitic thesis for an unaccredited university.[17]

In response to Epik hosting Gab, Monster has claimed that Gab got 'cleaner', but "white supremacist organizing remains commonplace on the platform in 2019", including propaganda of the Atomwaffen Division according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.[16]

Monster has engaged in promoting conspiracy theories in a public forum: anti-masonic ("Yeah, no, exactly. So the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, when you get to the 32nd degree of the Scottish Rite, they tell you that their god is Satan") and the Great Reset conspiracy theory.Wikipedia[18] Monster is also a flat Earther:

I am actually familiar with it. I reached out about a trip to the "south pole". Unfortunately no luck so far. As far as I have been able to determine, the farthest you will actually get to see is the ice wall and an approved patch of snow beyond the 60th parallel south. There is actually no fly-over.

In case not aware, the 1959 Antarctic Treaty System actually greatly restricts travel beyond the ice wall. Some folks have discussed it, including this entertaining recap of what is required to travel beyond the 60th parallel south…[19]

Deanonymization[edit]

We have this hour and fifteen minute meeting, courts of heaven, throne room, total get-it-done, break every curse… I mean, I am not gifted on that level, I know how to pray but this was on another level. And I’m telling you, there were curse put on these datasets, and not out of spite. I’m just saying that it was done. I’m just giving you a heads up. There are curses. Laptops will burn. Hard drives will burn. And we’ll see if it’s true, but there’s…
—Monster[18]

In 2021, Epik was hacked by Anonymous, and a massive trove (beginning with 180GB[20]) of data was released to the public, revealing names, credit card numbers,[note 2] passwords and security codes[note 3] of account owners.[10] Although a large proportion of the 1.8 million domains that were registered on Epik at the time of the time of the attack were inactive or innocuous, Epik had become a haven for the far right due to Monster's business philosophy.[10] Furthermore, Epik was found to be scraping WHOIS data[note 4] of many other websites, leading to over 15 million non-Epik customers getting implicated in the attack.[22] A second release of data by Anonymous followed the first, its 70GB download expanding to 300GB of data including bootable disk images of Epik's server.[20][23]

Monster was not oblivious to security issues before the hack, and regularly posted about Epik security features on Gab.[11][14] After the hack however, Monster initially referred to it as an "alleged security incident".[5] During a 4 hours long video conference, Monster dealt with the ordeal through prayer, attempts to vanquish demons, and the placing of curses upon the leaked data, warning viewers that hard drives containing it could burst into flames.[20][18]

A third Anonymous data release contains both more Epik disk images and a "generously" included backup for the Texas GOP,[23] which is among Epik's customers and a target of Anonymous' pro-choice hacktivist Operation Jane.[24]

Epik webshites[edit]

Epik hosts or has hosted the following far-right websites:[7][10]

For more information, see: Category:Webshites hosted by Epik

VanwaTech[edit]

The company VanwaTech, founded by Nicholas Lim (1997 or 1998–),[28] has also hosted The Daily Stormer and 8kun (the successor to 8chan). Lim was for a time the chief technical officer for Epik, and remains a partial owner of Epik.[5] Lim, like Monster, is oblivious to the consequences of hosting neo-Nazi hate speech; he claims to be apolitical and not to be an extremist.[15] He explained his interest in hosting The Daily Stormer as "They were censored, so that’s what was interesting about them."[15] Whereas Monster demurred that he was not a free speech absolutist,[7] Lim has said that he is a free speech maximalist.[15]

See also[edit]

  • Pious fraud — Monster's use of 'truth' regarding both his Christian beliefs[12] and Alex Jones[14]

Notes[edit]

  1. Yes, that's his legal name.[5]
  2. Including CVV numbers, which most companies handling payment explicitly do not store (recurring payments are handled through a different method). This means Epik customers are vulnerable to credit card fraud until their credit card either expires or gets invalidated.[21]
  3. For a domain, the security code is what allows the domain to be unlocked and transferred to another registrar. There were seemingly no malicious domain transfers before Epik changed the security codes
  4. Data about who specifically owns a domain. Contains someone's full name, phone number and address. Most registrars usually hide this data either for free or for a price. It should be noted that Epik generally offers the same service to registrants.

References[edit]

  1. Anyway, Psycho JoJo Camp has now posted my home address, DOB, SSN, etc. by Ken White (@Popehat), Twitter, archived from October 3, 2021.
  2. Joseph Camp on Ballotpedia, archived from Jan 16, 2021.
  3. Former Student Sentenced for Computer Hacking at University of Central Missouri, Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Missouri, June 19, 2013.
  4. NEW: After reading this frivolous, desperate threat from Andy Ngo and/or The Post Millennial's lawyers, I knew I wanted @popehat to write our response., by Chad Loder, Twitter, archived from October 3, 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Fallout begins for far-right trolls who trusted Epik to keep their identities secret by Drew Harwell et al. (September 25, 2021) The Washington Post.
  6. See the Wikipedia article on Rob Monster.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 'Lex Luthor Of The Internet': Meet The Man Keeping Far-Right Websites Alive by Bobby Allyn (February 8, 2021 7:27 PM ET) NPR.
  8. Did #GlobalWarming arrive in Hawaii? Can the #ClimateChange apologists explain why #Seattle has record snowfall and why #Maui had the first snowfall in history? Anthropogenic warming on a global scale is #Nonsense. Please #WakeUp or #ChangeMyMind. by Rob Monster (7:52 AM - 13 Feb 2019) Twitter (archived from September 27, 2021).
  9. 11 Killed in Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre; Suspect Charged With 29 Counts. by Campbell Robertson et al. (27 October 2018) The New York Times.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Huge hack reveals embarrassing details of who’s behind Proud Boys and other far-right websites. Researchers say it will allow them to gain important new insights into how extremists operate online by Drew Harwell et al. (September 21, 2021 at 1:58 p.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Epik Gab (archived from December 4, 2018).
  12. 12.0 12.1 truth from:robmonster Twitter (archived from September 27, 2021).
  13. 670: Beware the Jabberwock by Ira Glass (March 15, 2019) This American Life, NPR.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Alex Jones and Infowars are on the side of Truth. Welcome to Epik. Like many folks who have searched for truth, I have watched Alex Jones on and off over the years. For those who would say that Alex Jones is controlled opposition, or an actor, I offer my findings from 3 "acid tests". One of my acid tests for determining if someone is on the side of truth is whether they move their domains to E… by Rob Monster (February 2, 2019) Gab (archived from February 4, 2019). Note: the post was truncated by the archiver.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 A 23-Year-Old Coder Kept QAnon Online When No One Else Would. Nick Lim provides tech support to the U.S. networks of White nationalists and conspiracy theorists banned by the likes of Amazon. by William Turton & Joshua Brustein (April 14, 2021, 1:00 AM PDT) Bloomberg Businessweek.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 A Problem of Epik Proportions by Michael Edison Hayden (January 11, 2019) Southern Poverty Law Center.
  17. David Duke Boasts Academic Achievements, His Claims Similar to Anti-Semitic Psychology Professor Kevin MacDonald by Heidi Beirich (May 29, 2009) Southern Poverty Law Center.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 "Transcript of Rob Monster's live Q&A following the Epik breach", transcribed by Molly White at blog.mollywhite.net, 2021 September 18, archived at archive.is on 2021 September 25
  19. What's going on with Epik and Rob Monster? by Rob Monster (Apr 3, 2019) namePros.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 New leak of Epik data exposes company’s entire server: Anonymous is calling the second leak 'the /b/ sides.' by Mikael Thalen (Updated Sep 29, 2021, 4:39 pm CDT) Daily Dot.
  21. PSA: Cancel Credit Cards on File at Epik (Card Data Reported in Hack) by James Iles (September 20, 2021) JamesNames.
  22. Processing the Epik breach and there's *lots* of email addresses taken from other places, for example stored copies of WHOIS records. If your address is in there - even if you didn't subscribe to the service - do you want @haveibeenpwned to notify you that they have your address?, Troy Hunt (operator of breach notification site HaveIBeenPwned), Twitter, archived from 18 September 2021.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Anonymous releases data on Texas GOP in latest Epik hack dump by Mikael Thalen (Published Oct 4, 2021) Daily Dot
  24. Anonymous Presents: Operation Epik Fail: You Lost The Game, archived at archive.is October 4
  25. Soon! by @Cernovich, Replying to @EpikDotCom (10:04 PM - 14 Dec 2018) Twitter (archived from October 4, 2019).
  26. Data from Oath Keepers leaked online after alleged hack: The breach includes emails, chat logs, and details on members and donors. by Mikael Thalen (Updated Sep 27, 2021, 10:17 am CDT) Daily Dot.
  27. Even Epik says the Texas abortion “whistleblower” site violates its rules, Jon Brodkin, ars Technica 7 September 2021
  28. See the Wikipedia article on Nicholas Lim.