Reddit API controversy continues, hacker threatens Reddit CEO

Emre Çitak
Jun 20, 2023

Reddit API controversy flares up once again as hackers have issued a threatening ultimatum to Reddit, announcing their intention to expose confidential data allegedly stolen from the platform. This ransom demand comes alongside a demand for the reversal of the Reddit API controversy.

The situation raises serious concerns about the security and privacy of Reddit's users. See the post by Dominic Alvieri about Reddit Files below.

BlackCat joins the Reddit API controversy

During a breach of Reddit's systems in February, the BlackCat ransomware gang, also known as ALPHV, claims to have obtained approximately 80 gigabytes of compressed data. The exact details of the breach remain undisclosed.

However, Reddit confirmed the cyber incident on February 9, with CTO Christopher Slowe, known as KeyserSosa, revealing that the breach resulted from a highly-targeted phishing attack.

Slowe emphasized that while employee information and internal documents were compromised, there was no evidence to suggest that personal user data, including passwords and accounts, were stolen.

reddit api controversy
BlackCat has joined the Reddit API controversy

Reddit's response

BlackCat has recently come forward, taking responsibility for the intrusion and threatening to expose the "confidential" data obtained during the breach. However, they have yet to provide any evidence to substantiate their claims. The extent and nature of the stolen data remain uncertain.

Notably, BlackCat has been linked to other cyber attacks, including a major breach targeting Western Digital in March, where they managed to abscond with a staggering 10 terabytes of data, including valuable customer information.

Additionally, the group claimed to possess data allegedly stolen from Ring, an Amazon-owned video surveillance company.

reddit api controversy
Reddit declined to comment on the issue - Image: Reddit

Demands and dilemma

In a post titled "The Reddit Files," BlackCat disclosed that they reached out to Reddit twice, on April 13 and June 16, but received no response. They expressed their confidence that Reddit would not comply with their demands.

The hackers are demanding a ransom of $4.5 million to delete the stolen data and insist that Reddit rescind the controversial API pricing changes.

These API pricing adjustments have caused significant controversy, resulting in the closure of popular third-party Reddit app Apollo and triggering indefinite blackouts of several subreddits, including r/music and r/videos, as a form of protest against the new policy.

When pressed for their stance on BlackCat's demands, Reddit declined to comment on their intended course of action.


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