April 03, 2012, 4:23 PM — Every attention-seeker needs a stage from which to perform. Online that usually means Twitter, blogs or, in the case of hackers, the defaced sites of their victims.
The hacktivism of Anonymous, juvenile sabotage of LulzSec and politically motivated attacks of any number of other hacker singles and teams needed a different stage.
They needed somewhere they could post evidence they'd cracked the U.S. Senate, or the CIA, or the Israeli government or Arizona cops, or Symantec or any of the 104 million personal-identity accounts that were violated during 2011.
They needed a site where a person could post some text – sometimes a lot of text – without leaving behind any trace of who did it.
Pastebin.com isn't run for that purpose.
It was supposed to be a neutral, anonymous spot programmers could use to trade code, tips or whatever.
The Acceptable Use policy asks users not to post email addresses, login information, stolen code, passwords, stolen personal information or other evidence of digital wrongdoing.
Those are the kinds of things its most famous user group, Anonymous, posted on it, however.
After seeing the site blocked in Pakistan and Turkey after stolen data from those countries was posted on it, site owner Jeroen Vader decided to clean up the hackery.
He only takes down posts after receiving a complaint about them. He gets about 1,200 per day, according to HelpNet Security.
The process is manual, takes too much of Vader's time and doesn't allow the site to respond quickly enough to complaints about stolen data or illegal posts, Vader told the BBC. So he's hiring more people to help him evaluate and/or delete "sensitive" posts more quickly.
It's not a popular decision. Pastebin has been DDOSed at least once a day for the past three months.