Gay Nigger Association of America

The Gay Nigger Association of America (GNAA) was an Internet trolling group. They trolled several prominent websites and Internet personalities including Slashdot, Wikipedia, CNN, Barack Obama, Alex Jones, and prominent members of the blogosphere. They also released software products, and leaked screenshots and information about upcoming operating systems. In addition, they maintained a software repository and a wiki-based site dedicated to Internet commentary.[6][7] They were called a "cyberterrorist organization" by the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium.[8]

Members of the GNAA also founded Goatse Security, a grey hat information security group named after a famous image of a man spreading open his anus. Members of Goatse Security released information in June 2010 about email addresses on AT&T's website from people who had subscribed to mobile data service using the iPad. After the vulnerability was disclosed, the then-president of the GNAA, weev, and a GNAA member, "JacksonBrown" were arrested.[9]

The group was run by a president.[5] New media researcher Andrew Lih stated that it was unclear whether or not there was initially a clearly defined group of GNAA members, or if founding and early members of the GNAA were online troublemakers united under the name in order to disrupt websites.[10] However, professor Jodi Dean and Ross Cisneros claimed that they were an organized group of anti-blogging trolls.[6][11] Reporters also referred to the GNAA as a group.[12][13][14]

The former president of the GNAA, known as "timecop", was known for founding the anime fansub group "Dattebayo". Other members included former president Andrew "weev" Auernheimer, Daniel "JacksonBrown" Spitler,[9][15] former Debian Project Leader Sam Hocevar,[5][failed verification] and former spokesman Leon Kaiser.[16]

The group's name incited controversy and was described as "causing immediate alarm in anyone with a semblance of good taste", "intentionally offensive",[10] and "spectacularly offensive".[12] The group denied allegations of racism and homophobia, explaining that the name was intended to sow disruption on the Internet and challenge social norms (claiming it was derived from the 1992 Danish satirical blaxploitation film Gayniggers from Outer Space).[6]

The GNAA used many different methods of trolling. One method involved flooding a weblog's comment form with text consisting of repeated words and phrases, referred to as "crapflooding".[6][12] On Wikipedia, members of the group created an article about the group, while still adhering to Wikipedia's rules and policies; a process Andrew Lih says "essentially [used] the system against itself."[10] Another method included attacking many Internet Relay Chat channels and networks using different IRC flooding techniques.[17]

The GNAA also produced shock sites containing malware.[6][18] One such site, "Last Measure", contained embedded malware that opened up "an endless cascade of pop-up windows displaying pornography or horrific medical pictures."[18][19] They also performed proof of concept demonstrations.[17][20] These actions have occasionally interrupted the normal operation of popular websites.

In July 2004, two GNAA members submitted leaked screenshots of the upcoming operating system Mac OS X v10.4[21] to the popular Macintosh news website MacRumors, resulting in a post which read "With WWDC just days away, the first Tiger information and screenshots appears to have been leaked. According to sources, Apple will reportedly provide developers with a Mac OS X 10.4 preview copy at WWDC on Monday. The screenshots provided reportedly come from this upcoming developer preview."[22]

In June 2005, the GNAA announced that it had created a Mac OS X Tiger release for Intel x86 processors which caught media attention from various sources.[23][24][25] The next day, the supposed leak was mentioned on the G4 television show Attack of the Show.[26] The ISO image released via BitTorrent merely booted a shock image[26][27] instead of the leaked operating system.[28]

On February 3, 2007, the GNAA successfully managed to convince CNN reporter Paula Zahn that "one in three Americans" believe that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks were carried out by Israeli agents.[29] CNN subsequently ran a story erroneously reporting this, involving a round-table discussion regarding antisemitism and an interview with the father of a Jewish 9/11 victim.[30] The GNAA-owned website said that "over 4,000" Jews were absent from work at the World Trade Center on 9/11.[30]

On February 11, 2007, an attack was launched on the website of US presidential candidate (and future US president) Barack Obama, where the group's name was caused to appear on the website's front page.[31]

In late January 2010, the GNAA used an obscure method known as cross-protocol scripting (a combination of cross-site scripting and inter-protocol exploitation) to cause users of the Freenode IRC network to unknowingly flood IRC channels after visiting websites containing inter-protocol exploits.[13] They also have used a combination of inter-protocol, cross-site, and integer overflow bugs in both the Firefox and Safari web browsers to flood IRC channels.[14]

In late July 2012, the GNAA created a website titled "linuxforniggers.us" for a supposed African-American-targeted Linux-based operating system in development. The site provides a download link for an ISO image which, when booted, presents users with a slideshow of images related to African-American stereotypes.[32]

On October 30, the GNAA began a trolling campaign around the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on the US East Coast, spreading fake photographs and tweets of alleged looters in action. After the GNAA published a press-release detailing the incident,[33] mainstream media outlets began detailing how the prank was carried out.[34][35]

On December 3, the GNAA was identified as being responsible for a cross-site scripting attack on Tumblr that resulted in thousands of Tumblr blogs being defaced with a pro-GNAA message.[36]

In January 2013, the GNAA collaborated with users on the imageboard 4chan to start a "#cut4bieber" trend on Twitter, encouraging fans of Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber to practice self-harm.[37][38]

From 2014 into 2015, GNAA members began playing an active role in the Gamergate controversy, sabotaging efforts made by pro-Gamergate parties. Several GNAA members were able to gain administrative access to 8chan's (an imageboard associated with Gamergate) primary Gamergate board, which they disrupted and ultimately closed. The GNAA also claimed responsibility for releasing private information related to many pro-Gamergate activists.[39]

On October 13, 2016, GNAA member Meepsheep vandalized Wikipedia to cause the entries for Bill and Hillary Clinton to be overlapped with pornographic images and a message endorsing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.[40]

Several members of the GNAA with expertise in grey hat[41] computer security research began releasing information about several software vulnerabilities under the name "Goatse Security." The group chose to publish their work under a separate name because they thought that they would not be taken seriously.[15]

In June 2010, Goatse Security attracted mainstream media attention for their discovery of at least 114,000 unsecured email addresses[42] registered to Apple iPad devices for early adopters of Apple's 3G iPad service.[4][43] The data was aggregated from AT&T's own servers by feeding a publicly available script with HTTP requests containing randomly generated ICC-IDs, which would then return the associated email address. The FBI soon investigated the incident. This investigation led to the arrest of then-GNAA President,[44] Andrew 'weev' Auernheimer, on unrelated drug charges[45] resulting from an FBI search of his home.[15][46]

In January 2011, the Department of Justice announced that Auernheimer would be charged with one count of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization and one count of fraud.[47] A co-defendant, Daniel Spitler, was released on bail.[48][49] In June 2011, Spitler pleaded guilty on both counts after reaching a plea agreement with US attorneys.[50] On November 20, 2012, Auernheimer was found guilty of one count of identity fraud and one count of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization.[51] These convictions were overturned[why?] on April 11, 2014, and Auernheimer was subsequently released from prison.[52]