How 4Chan Hacked the Poll


Looking at the poll results we see clear evidence of the hack. The first letters of the top 21 finalists in the poll spell out ‘Marblecake, also the game’. Evidence of precision hackery for anyone to see. And yet, Time says they rebuffed all attempts to hack the poll. Quoting from the time article: “’s technical team did detect and extinguish several attempts to hack the vote”. Which leads me to wonder whether is being dishonest or is just plain incompetent. Considering Hanlon’s razor , I have to go with incompetence. (And if you have any doubt about Time’s incompetence, take a close look at the Poll. Notice that Oprah Winfrey and Ratan Tata have the exact same number of votes. That’s because they both shared the same ID in the poll. A vote for either one was a vote for the other. Same goes for Michael Bloomberg and Gustavo Dudamel. If you vote for one, you vote for the other.)

How did the hack happen? I’ve already described in great detail the steps that the loose collective known as ‘Anonymous’ took to hack the poll. This group probed for weaknesses in the poll protocols and wrote autovoters to stuff the ballot box with votes that would put the candidates in the proper order to spell out the Message, adapting as necessary whenever Time adjusted its protocol in a meager attempt to keep the hackers out. But two weeks ago, Time got serious about poll security. They modified the poll so that you needed to prove that you were human (via a captcha) in order to vote.

This instantly shut down all of the autovoters. Anonymous was offline – no longer able to submit thousands of votes per minute. And what’s worse, when the autovoters were shutdown, the Message ‘Marblecake, also the game’ soon decayed into a meaningless “mablre caelakosteghamm”. It seemed that had won – the Message would not survive the next two weeks of voting. But Anonymous didn’t give up, they considered it a challenge to restore the Message. Here’s how they did it.