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HomeTechHeritage Foundation Denies Penetratation by ‘Gay Furry Hackers’

Heritage Foundation Denies Penetratation by ‘Gay Furry Hackers’

Lucas Ropek

SiegedSec, a known hacktivist group composed of self-described “gay furry hackers,” recently took credit for breaching a number of organizations, including The Heritage Foundation, the rightwing think-tank behind the controversial Project 2025 initiative. Earlier this week, the unconventional threat actor claimed that it had pilfered data from the conservative organization and would be releasing two gigabytes of it on its Telegram page.

However, the Heritage Foundation has disputed the notion that it was hacked. Instead, the organization claims that the group behind the antics “stumbled upon a two-year-old archive of the Daily Signal website that was available on a public-facing website owned by a contractor,” as Noah Weinrich, the Heritage Foundation’s public relations director, told The Intercept. The Daily Signal is a conservative blog that was originally part of Heritage but is now a legally separate entity. Weinrich told The Intercept: “The story of a ‘hack’ is a false narrative and exaggeration by a group of criminal trolls trying to get attention.”

To make matters worse for the think-tank, an alleged conversation between a SiegedSec hacker calling themself “vio” and Mike Howell, a top executive at the Heritage Foundation, was leaked to the internet earlier this week. The Daily Dot initially reported on the leak, which vio says was conducted via the chat app Signal and was subsequently made public through a web-accessible text file. The leak purports to show Howell and the hacker aggressively trading barbs with one another, as Howell attempts to negotiate a “meeting” with the hacker group.

The conversation initially starts off with Howell asking vio what the hackers want. Vio’s response is recorded as follows:

vio: we want to make a message and shine light on who exactly supports the heritage foundation. we dont want anything more than that, not money and not fame. we’re strongly against Project 2025 and everything the heritage foundation stands for.

Mike Howell: That’s why you hacked us? Just for that?

vio: yes. it should be obvious thats all we want based on our history as a hacktivist group, we dont seek money.

Later, the conversation gets incredibly heated:

Mike Howell: “Are you aware that you won’t be able to wear a furry tiger costume when you’re getting pounded in the ass in the federal prison I put you in next year?”

vio: “such unprofessional language from an executive director, would you mind if i shared this?”

Mike Howell: “Please share widely. I hope the word spreads as fast as the STDs do in your degenerate furry community.”

At other points in the conversation, Howell is purported to have told the hacker that their “people turned against nature” and are “degenerate perverts.”

Howell seems to have confirmed, multiple times, that the conversation is real. Daily Dot journalist Mikael Thalen reached out to Howell via X to ask him if he could “confirm the authenticity” of the leaked chat. Howell initially responded by accusing Thalen of somehow being involved with the hackers: “I’m aware of your participation in the sexually deviant ‘Furry’ group’s hack,” he tweeted. After Thalen ignored this provocation, Howell ultimately said that the conversation was real: “send me a link and I’ll confirm if correct,” he said, and then added, “Yah that’s me. For sure.”

Security blogger Jackie Singh reached out to Howell for confirmation and was greeted with similar antics, with Howell accusing them of being involved with the “Biden team” and claiming that the “Biden team” was behind the hack.

“@MHowell, this you man?” someone else tweeted, with screenshots of the conversation.

“Yes,” Howell responded.

Later, Howell retweeted screenshots of the conversation and claimed that he had “forced the Gay Furry Hackers to DISBAND.”

Multiple emails from Gizmodo and a phone call to the Heritage Foundation’s press line were ignored. A message to a Heritage Foundation email address associated with Howell also yielded no response.

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