Parts of New York magazine's website were offline Sunday evening and Monday morning after the publication launched a feature story about victims of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual abuse. A hacker calling himself ThreatKing took credit for the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that overwhelmed the site.
"Many stupid people at [sic] New York," he told The Daily Dot.
New York's new cover features portraits and stories of 35 women who have said that Cosby sexually assaulted or raped them. Cosby was first publicly accused of rape in a 2005 lawsuit brought by one of his alleged victims; the accusations have resurfaced in recent months as more and more women have come forward. In a deposition from the 2005 lawsuit that was recently made public, Cosby admitted to giving sedatives to women he wanted to have sex with. Many of the women interviewed by New York magazine also allege that they were drugged by Cosby during their assaults.
ThreatKing first claimed to be responsible for the DDoS attack on Twitter, using the handle @Vikingdom2016. Although the timing of the attack coincided with New York magazine's launch of its feature story, ThreatKing said that he was not motivated by the article but rather by a dislike of New York City. "I have not even seen the cover, LOL," he told The Daily Dot. The hacker claimed that he had visited New York City several months ago and been pranked, which inspired him to retaliate against websites that contain "New York" as part of their name.
In Twitter direct messages sent from @Vikingdom2016 to Motherboard, the hacker claimed to have spent $850 to pay for the servers used in the DDoS attack, adding that "others paid more."
While the website was offline, New York tried to make the women's stories accessible on other platforms, publishing interviews on Instagram and a copy of the article on Tumblr. New York's website was restored on Monday after several hours offline.