Time’s hacked poll

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 28, 2009

The account of how the folks at 4chan hacked Time’s Most Influential Person poll is worth reading for their clever manipulation of the reCAPTCHA mechanism. But the author unfairly dumps on Time.com…it sounds like they knew the poll was being manipulated, did what they could, but were fully aware of the futility of securing such a thing from a large group of determined distributed attackers. (via waxy)

It’s worth noting the difference in Time’s approach to this hack and a similar one from several years ago. In 1999, some friends of mine and I conspired to place ourselves on top of Time’s Digital 50 poll. Scripts were written, readers were enlisted, and a few of us soon passed the likes of Bill Gates and Linus Torvalds on the list. Unlike today, when Time not only let moot stay on the list but win the entire poll, Time repeatedly deleted us from the Digital 50 list entirely and none of us made it anywhere near the final listing. I’d say that’s progress on Time’s part.