October 19, 2020

A phone call to an Internet provider in Oregon on Sunday evening was all it took to briefly sideline multiple websites related to 8chan/8kun — a controversial online image board linked to several mass shootings — and QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory which holds that a cabal of Satanic pedophiles is running a global child sex-trafficking ring and plotting against President Donald Trump. Following a brief disruption, the sites have come back online with the help of an Internet company based in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The IP address range in the upper-right portion of this map of QAnon and 8kun-related sites — — is assigned to VanwaTech and briefly went offline this evening. Source: twitter.com/Redrum_of_Crows.

A large number of 8kun and QAnon-related sites (see map above) are connected to the Web via a single Internet provider in Vancouver, Wash. called VanwaTech (a.k.a. “OrcaTech“). Previous appeals to VanwaTech to disconnect these sites have fallen on deaf ears, as the company’s owner Nick Lim reportedly has been working with 8kun’s administrators to keep the sites online in the name of protecting free speech.

But VanwaTech also had a single point of failure on its end: The swath of Internet addresses serving the various 8kun/QAnon sites were being protected from otherwise crippling and incessant distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks by Hillsboro, Ore. based CNServers LLC.

On Sunday evening, security researcher Ron Guilmette placed a phone call to CNServers’ owner, who professed to be shocked by revelations that his company was helping QAnon and 8kun keep the lights on.

Within minutes of that call, CNServers told its customer — Spartan Host Ltd., which is registered in Belfast, Northern Ireland — that it would no longer be providing DDoS protection for the set of 254 Internet addresses that Spartan Host was routing on behalf of VanwaTech.

Contacted by KrebsOnSecurity, the person who answered the phone at CNServers asked not to be named in this story for fear of possible reprisals from the 8kun/QAnon crowd. But they confirmed that CNServers had indeed terminated its service with Spartan Host. That person added they weren’t a fan of either 8kun or QAnon, and said they would not self-describe as a Trump supporter.

CNServers said that shortly after it withdrew its DDoS protection services, Spartan Host changed its settings so that VanwaTech’s Internet addresses were protected from attacks by ddos-guard[.]net, a company based in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Spartan Host’s founder, 25-year-old Ryan McCully, confirmed CNServers’ report. McCully declined to say for how long VanwaTech had been a customer, or whether Spartan Host had experienced any attacks as a result of CNServers’ action.

McCully said while he personally doesn’t subscribe to the beliefs espoused by QAnon or 8kun, he intends to keep VanwaTech as a customer going forward.

“We follow the ‘law of the land’ when deciding what we allow to be hosted with us, with some exceptions to things that may cause resource issues etc.,” McCully said in a conversation over instant message. “Just because we host something, it doesn’t say anything about we do and don’t support, our opinions don’t come into hosted content decisions.”

But according to Guilmette, Spartan Host’s relationship with VanwaTech wasn’t widely known previously because Spartan Host had set up what’s known as a “private peering” agreement with VanwaTech. That is to say, the two companies had a confidential business arrangement by which their mutual connections were not explicitly stated or obvious to other Internet providers on the global Internet.

Guilmette said private peering relationships often play a significant role in a good deal of behind-the-scenes-mischief when the parties involved do not want anyone else to know about their relationship.

“These arrangements are business agreements that are confidential between two parties, and no one knows about them, unless you start asking questions,” Guilmette said. “It certainly appears that a private peering arrangement was used in this instance in order to hide the direct involvement of Spartan Host in providing connectivity to VanwaTech and thus to 8kun. Perhaps Mr. McCully was not eager to have his involvement known.”

8chan, which rebranded last year as 8kun, has been linked to white supremacism, neo-Nazism, antisemitism, multiple mass shootings, and is known for hosting child pornography. After three mass shootings in 2019 revealed the perpetrators had spread their manifestos on 8chan and even streamed their killings live there, 8chan was ostracized by one Internet provider after another.

The FBI last year identified QAnon as a potential domestic terror threat, noting that some of its followers have been linked to violent incidents motivated by fringe beliefs.

Further reading:

What Is QAnon?

QAnon: A Timeline of Violent Linked to the Conspiracy Theory

167 thoughts on “QAnon/8Chan Sites Briefly Knocked Offline

  1. Bob

    Another lying liberal. Qanons are not dangerous the only people that should fear them is pedophiles! They are Christians for the most part who love God and their country and practice and preach peace. The only thing Qanons do is research to find truths on their own rather than listen to lies like yours! You can’t stop Q. There are millions of us worldwide! You have no reason to fear us we aren’t setting businesses on fire or killing people or race baiting people or assaulting them. The only reason anyone should fear us is if they are pedophiles. You must be one or you wouldn’t be trying so desperately to stop us. Once again you can’t!

    1. NotBob

      Ah, I see. Good. Well, you’ve settled that, Bob. Thanks.

      Just a couple questions: does Donald Trump’s close relationship to Jeffery Epstein, a proven pedophile, give you pause at all? How about his “I wish her well” comment regarding Ghislaine Maxwell? Does entering a pizza parlor with firearms with the intent of harming innocent people seem non-violent to you? You see, those are real things that happened in America.

      You state that millions of people in the world believe in Q and sadly that may be true. Of course, logically this means that the other 8.999 billion people in the world realize that it’s a mad hallucination of 8chan’s most vile, thankfully. Incidentally, did you know that approximately 20million people suffer from schizophrenia worldwide?

        1. Brad

          Bradley Edwards is a known child pornographer and has prior convictions in Scotland. He has been seen at Epstein parties where Trump was attending too.

    2. Andy

      Get a life Bob, it’s a huge scam and you look like a complete tool pushing this nonsense. Stop embarrassing your family.

        1. JamminJ

          Qanon is a group of antisemitic racists that accuse everyone of being a pedo in order to foster a conspiracy theory that claims jews run the world. “Cabal” and “Globalists” are dog-whistles.

    3. Kris

      No one is lying.
      Qanons ARE dangerous (even if they are Christians for the most part who love God and their country and practice and preach peace).
      Truths on their own (drop fed conspiracy from every other Q nutter isn’t really on your own, is it?).
      You claim you don’t maim or harm yet Q is the biggest anti-Semitic group since Nazis
      Have fun fantasizing that people are pedos just because they called you crazy.

    4. Lindy

      Bob…what good Christians? They spread reprehensible lies about Progressives…they are full of hate and manipulative.

    5. Ron G

      “The only reason anyone should fear us is if they are pedophiles. You must be one…”

      This quote could have been lifted straight from the Joseph McCarthy intimidation playbook.

      In the 1950s it was “If you don’t like what we are doing, and if you think we are full of crap, then you must be a communist.”

      Seventy years later and little has changed. “If you don’t like what we are doing and if you think we are full of crap, then you must be a pedophile.”

      This is the exact same intimidation game. “Agree with us, or else we will screw you, threaten you, label, you, and even harass your children.” That’s the QAnon philosophy.

      Well, not in MY America pal! You can take a long walk off a short pier as far as I’m concerned. Generations of my ancestors fought and died to protect this country and the Constitution from the likes of you scumbags, and they shall not have died in vain, because you and all of your jackass friends are going the way of the dinosaur. You can take your intimidation tactics and stuff them were the sun don’t shine because this country and the Constitution are more than strong enough to survive all of you blithering morons, and neither Krebs nor I are the least bit afraid of any of you. We’ve both faced now more intimidating bullies than you nutjobs, and lived to tell about it. You lot are all just kind of laughable and silly… a fact which you would realize if you ever woke up and ventured outside of your little self-imposed self-reinforcing fantasy information bubbles.

      But I get it. You want to play the weekend anti-pedo warrior. You have nothing else in your life, so this is all you’ve got to justify your otherwise pathetic and pointless existence on this planet. So go ahead! Be my guest! Indulge yourself in your fantasy life, since you don’t actually have a real one. Just don’t go around pestering other people with it. If you have the irresistible urge to tell someone about your fantasies, then go to a shrink or a priest, or a rabbi. You don’t have to go around bothering people on the Internet with this delusional gibberish.

    6. Bleacherbum

      yeahhhh, Everyone (including me) just wrote you off as a nut case for this; “You must be one or you wouldn’t be trying so desperately to stop us”
      There are good people out there hunting bad ones, and idiots that are to gung-ho to have good judgement. The idiots make the all the good people look like idiots when they post crap like that. And the entire community suffers for the foolishness.

    7. Theresa

      Of course these people are talking trash about Q and says that none of it is true.
      Hunter Biden
      It is all just a coincidence that these people have been exposed! It has nothing to do with the fact Q mentioned researching them.

    8. Ashley

      Brian, why did you approve the comment by this troll “Bob”? How does his comment elevate discussion here or even have anything to do with the actual content of your post? I’m so tired of QAnon followers crashing into otherwise normal conversations online and hijacking them with their unhinged cultish ramblings.

      1. BrianKrebs Post author

        I don’t have the time or interest for moderating comments. Some of them will get auto-moderated, such as those including profanity and spam. Seems to me even if the comments seem completely unhinged, it is relevant to the conversation because it provides insight into the mindset of Q followers.

  2. gnukid

    and QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory which holds that a “cabal of Satanic pedophiles is running a global child sex-trafficking ring”

    The pics are coming , lol 😉

    1. JamminJ

      It’s like those doomsday cults that always have yet another prediction coming “soon”. When nothing happens, its the next thing.

  3. Sam

    The QAnon scam, made entirely from fabricated claims, is similar to Scientology except we know all about the nut who concocted Scientology.

    We know nothing about the person behind QAnon. Someday, when the author is exposed followers will have a reckoning.

    1. Dan Levitan

      Oh, and by the way, it’s Q.

      WE are the Anons.

      There is no “QAnon”.

      And Ron Guilmette better get his affairs in order if he’s working against the NSA and members of the US Military.

        1. meh

          Krissy, you know your not supposed to binge watch cnn when you have such a bad case of TDS.

          1. John Ming

            Really?! You quisling trolls have nothing better to do in life?

      1. g.g.

        Q is nothing more than trailer-park scientology. and you Qcumbers are nothing more than the rubes it fools. I actually pity you.

        1. treFunny

          I pity those that support BLM and Antifa while they burn down our cities….

          but yeah go attack some nerds on 8chan, let them LARP if you think Q is fake.. doesnt hurt you like BLM and Antifa. Better banish everything from the internet that CNN deems unsafe. Derp.

          1. JamminJ

            Global Climate Change has burned down more of America than any leftist group. Yet Republicans just ignore one, and exaggerate the other.

      2. Lucky

        Don’t argue with these wretched souls, they will only drag you down to their level, you win by living a happy life. Focus on that instead of wasting your life here, the sun is shinig and Trump is the president, enjoy it for 4 more years, while these haters gulp haterade all day long. Peace.

      3. Ron G

        What makes you think that it wasn’t the NSA and members of the military that asked me to look into this whole decrepit booby hatch? Even they think that this pathetic disinformation game the Watkins’ have been playing has gotten to be so ludicrous now that it isn’t even funny anymore. It’s just sort of pathetic and silly.

        Yes, you can inspire a whole lot of fact-free morons who never made it past the 9th grade to march up and down on Hollywood Blvd. on a warm sunny August afternoon, because they all want to fantasize themselves as the heros in their own private heroic anti-pedo fantasies, but everybody sane still knows that you are all just a bunch of self-deluding dunces. You’ll figure it out yourself eventually, when the 1,789th Q prediction in a row also never comes true… just like the rest of them.

        Meantime, if you or any of your other nut job friends wants to know if I “have my affairs in order”, drop by anytime. Then you, me, and my 1911 colt automatic can have a nice friendly chat about it. In fact, if you ever manage to grow a pair, at least enough so that you start using your real name, I’ll save you the trouble and I’ll come to you. Just tell me when and where.

        See you at the movies chump!

        Oh And by the way, I have a really nice late-model bridge that I can give you a really great price on!



        1. Bob's Uncle

          So we can start threatening each other with guns on here now? That seems a bit extreme, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s just me.

          1. Ron G

            The guy threatened me. He said I ought to “have my affairs in order”. What is that but a thinly veiled threat of violence against me?

            Remember Comet Ping-Pong pizza?

            Do you know about the crap that these nut jobs pulled against congressman Tom Malinowski?

            But QAnon is all about peace, love and unity. Yea. Right.

            It would be unwise to assume that these whackos are unarmed. I just felt like making it clear that I am fully prepared, in case any of them elect to show up on my doorstep. If any of them want to take it to the next level, then they should have no illusions about what sort of reception they will get.

      4. Big Dave

        Do you realize that having a specialized vocabulary for the in-group is a key sign of a cult?

        1. WhatHappenedtoKrebs

          Are these the types of comments you unironically post on specialized techie forums? Lurk more, Big Noob.

    2. meh

      You know nothing about it… but it’s a scam… In that case, you wouldn’t need to resort to the false cause. Yeah and so what about a ‘reckoning’? That’s their problem, not yours or mine. Stop being a little Nazi about something you, yourself say, you know nothing about.

      I swear these democrat losers will recite whatever cnn tells them too. The party of the kkk and now, NPC’s.

      1. Sara

        I know way too much about it. I’ve researched the origins, the recruitment strategy, the countless false claims and failed predictions and it’s definitely a scam. you think you’re “red pilled” but you’re really being abused and brainwashed by sociopaths and grifters who are making money off of you and want to divide us. where we go one, we go all? its literally what sheep do. wake up.

  4. Jeff

    You linked to a Yahoo News story about the so-called terrorist threat and not the FBI. Not specific. Read the article. It says Pizzagate was about some basement of a pizza parler. No it wasn’t.
    There is a reason Yahoo News got rid of their comments. They were filled with comments on how bias/bad the stories were.
    Please link to the FBI website next time.
    Lazy journalism on your part.
    And I think the NYT and WaPo are not too be trusted. Sorry. Point to the sources please.

    1. William

      The “removing comments thing” has been in style for about 5 years now.

      No one wants to pay people to be moderators anymore, because it costs money to do those things.

      Old News, Time to move forward.

    1. Ron G

      Yes, that’s correct. That /24 got transferred from the APNIC region to the ARIN region awhile back.

      Apparently this coincided with Jim Watkins’ planned personal repatriation into the United States from the Philippines.

  5. Claudia

    Tom Hanks hasn’t committed suicide. The Queen of England is still Queen of England. Much of QAnons remarks are not true. As a Christian it is important to stick to the truth and not make things up or put words into people’s mouths to create negativity when they did not say this things. When those words are taken out of context.

    1. John Ming

      LOL, as the country is still failing to contain the pandemic…you have several screws loose eh?
      So much winning…

    2. Al Langw

      Making America great?

      Tell that to the more than 215K dead Americans due to Covid-19 and Trump’s inept management.

      No wonder why his daddy had to bail him out.

  6. Andrew

    Q-Anon is Russian Intelligence. As a security researcher we first thought it was GRU or SVR. It’s them and FSB. QAnon is just Russian disinformation tactics like they used in east europe adapted to Americans. Tabloid gossip mixed with half truths and misdirection. Get em hooked with saliciousness. Divide and conquer along existing fracture lines. Put your pro Russian candidate in and call anyone who sees the rouse part of a deepstate conspiracy against your candidate. It’s evil. Pure evil and Russian intelligence is primarily behind it using decieved and fervent patsies over here to push it along with 1 million fake social media accounts to get groundswell going

    1. Alex

      To be fair, if it wasn’t QAnon, it would be something else.

      1. treFunny

        Lets clear something up for you your research seemed to miss:

        Q exists, Qanon does not.
        Anon exists, Qanon does not.

        As soon as someone says Qanon they show one thing, they have no idea what they are talking about.

        I am sure your research was thorough just like Crowdstrike on them Bears (wink)…. wait did Crowdstrike ever prove anything? No, go read what Henry said… they have no evidence… bologna

        1. JamminJ

          Anons are the persons, Qanon is the broad term for the set of conspiracy theories.

          Sorry, but you cannot revise your history just so you can pretend to be something that people “just don’t understand”. Get over it, you’re not that complicated.

        2. Sam

          “As soon as someone says Qanon they show one thing, they have no idea what they are talking about. ”

          Ironic statement of the century.

  7. mabraton

    It should be common sense that hosting content does not rely on personal views. It relies on the law and free speech. To connect violent incidences on a anonymous platform to ANYONE is an easy task. Those who speak for the Q movement have never called for violence. It seems that somebody wants to clean up the internet just now in front of the election.

    1. JamminJ

      Anyone can “speak for the movement”, if the movement is made up of anonymous Internet accounts.

      Terrorist cells also operate as collective distributed cells that can receive filtered “instruction” from the top, but ultimately operate autonomously.

  8. Earthling

    Any chance of getting an ‘ignore user’ function here like WaPo has?

    1. WhatHappenedtoKrebs

      Don’t worry, soon Krebs will roll out the full suite of ‘ignore troubling thought’ services.

  9. Sam

    Krebs failed big time on this report.
    Totally incorrect reporting on the group and the situation.
    Stick to tech Brian Major FAIL.
    Respect lost

  10. John

    8kun appears to be hosed, it currently displays the default Apache page.

  11. Thomas

    Many are missing the point of this journalism, my opinion. The point is – Is there outside involvement/influence in our election and media? Doesn’t matter which side (red or blue), just that some outside enrichment might be taking place. Scary that America has become a reality show and a simple DDOS assist can move an outside desire/influence forward. Shame on us Security-folks for not seeing it.

  12. Mplssj

    Interesting article Brian and probably not a coincidence that a Russian company stepped in to rescue the racist and divisive sites that are mostly consumed by Trump followers.
    How sad but not surprising to read the comments here where normally we have intelligent people talking about facts, but on this story some brainwashed right wing nutcases that have suspended their belief in reality because they prefer to partake in one of the oldest conspiracies known to human kind.

    Please it’s not too late to get help

  13. Qult

    It seems your comment section has been bombarded by the cult members. They probably came from the @fr_brennan tweet..

  14. Joseph

    “That person added they weren’t a fan of either 8kun or QAnon, and said they would not self-describe as a Trump supporter.”

    So this was a politically motivated take-down? Only anti-Trump content is allowed on the internet now?

    Or what is the purpose in asking who this person supports for president?

    1. JamminJ

      Yes, motivations matter. If someone is an extreme supporter or opponent… actions that may have otherwise gotten the benefit of the doubt, should absolutely be treated with skepticism.

      It’s not just anti-trump opinions that should allowed on the Internet. But there should be a distinction between fact and lies. If facts have an anti-trump bias, that’s another problem.

  15. Mike

    Many years ago I got to understand that ‘belief is stronger than knowledge’. Devastatingly that applies to religions too. ‘Follow the science’ is the plea of those who have our best interests at heart, whether on climate change or Covid-19. You don’t have to look far to see what happens when action is predicated on emotion and blind belief. And yes, I do wear a mask outside.

  16. Dylan

    Sounds like the Hollywooders are here trying to save their over paid jobs by bashing harmless internet enthusiast’s and researchers… Just like you washed up worthless actors to be so upset by a LARP rigbt

  17. Bt

    Pro tip: The media and the FBI aren’t here to help you, they are here to protect political power. I guess Brian is now a fear pusher? Brian, how about directing your attention to actual violent people that are organizing online? There is a reason the media is trying to discredit Qanon followers and violence is not it.

    1. JamminJ

      Qanon followers are prone to violence. A DC pizzeria was already the scene of a shooting.

      The FBI is tracking extremists groups. There is a psychological profile that identifies extreme groups before they turn violent.

      These anti-government cults/groups share common thread and common rhetoric. And even if the loudest voices of the group aren’t the ones committing the violence, the ideas for violence flow downward.
      It starts with chants of “lock her up”, because they claim they are pedos… then someone gets the idea to kidnap a governor. Or to blow up a federal office building.
      Violent extremists don’t need to believe the entire pantheon of Qanon…. they can pick and choose a few and run them to their violent conclusion.

  18. Bob Brown

    Holy shirt! I thought I’d escaped from political rants when I escaped from FB.

    1. William

      I got rid of Face Book earlier this year: The “BOTS” know way too much about people in general.

  19. Terd

    The fact that a St. Petersburg company was their immediate parachute pretty much tells you all you need to know.

    1. Ron G

      Yessiree! It sure does.

      Now the one and only “main” outlet for the QAnon lunacy is on the same Russian-protected network as the web site of Hamas.

      But all of these QAnon wackos are self-proclaimed “patriots”. Yea. Pull the other one.

  20. Non-Jounalism Strikes again

    People who talk about Q who don’t bother to read even 1 Q drop. Brian, I can’t speak for the others making commnets but you know better.

    1. JamminJ

      Calling an anonymous blog post a “drop” is an indication in itself that you are already susceptible to this propaganda.

      Real journalism is NOT about absorbing the conspiracy theory by just reading all of the claims. That is what the nutjobs want people to do, to give it legitimacy. It’s the old logical fallacy of “[insert asinine claim] – prove me wrong”.

      Rather, objective journalism looks to the underlying motivations and does not try to play whack-a-mole with every variation of every conspiracy theory.

      1. Chuck2C

        You mentioned real and objective journalism.

        Not a big fan of the current administration or of the Qanon mess. That having been said, I haven’t seen a whole lot of “real” or “objective” journalism over the past several years that so many claim exists.

        I have seen a lot of big stories based on anonymous sources that burst onto front pages and news shows that make a big initial splash, but tend not to be substantiated any further as time passes. Not commenting on veracity, just an observation.

        It does breed suspicion when I see so much labeling and so many ad hominem attacks on people that publicly disagree with some of these pieces (btw, not saying that you’re doing this) instead of clear efforts to support or dispute specific facts. I’m even more suspicious when I see “fact checkers” being used by journalists- that often turn out to have partisan affiliations to one side or another.

        Journalism these days often seems more like propaganda- So when it’s possible, I’ll try to find the source and decide for myself if it’s conspiracy theory or partisan crap (this means now I’m going to have to wade through the “Q” crap, assuming there’s a specific source). If there’s no original source, given a set of journalistic “claims”, I find myself having to go wade through the right-wing then left-wing sources in an attempt to squeeze out something worth considering.

        1. JamminJ

          Real journalism is still out there.
          And probably in the same quantity as it’s always been for decades.

          But with the democratization of information, anyone can now be a part of the media landscape. You don’t have to have any degree in journalism, communications, international affairs, or even equivalent apprenticeship experience.
          So these so-called newsrooms have been filled with political pundits and hacks who put on the moniker of journalist.
          Fox News, and even CNN, are mostly opinion and entertainment. They are so filtered and tainted by partisan politics that it’s hard to know which writers are real journalists and which time slot actually has hard news. Both CNN and Fox have real journalists working hard, but they are not the money makers of the networks and they don’t get much say or airtime. They are background players.
          Then add news radio. Pundits who scream into a microphone. They drown out the the real journalism on the radio like NPR and VOA.

          And of course there’s the internet. Anybody with a YouTube account can pretend to be a journalist.

          So what used to be easily recognizable, credible journalism, has been muddied with this nonsense. It was much better for our country when we had three major news networks, and several dozen newspapers.
          Local news has been gobbled up by national conglomerates. Newspapers have been bought up by hyper partisans. And cable news has dominated with opinion and punditry. Now it’s a full-time job for citizens to research and filter the news, for which they are ill-equipped and uninterested in doing. The general public has no education in combating conspiracy and rhetoric. They don’t have the skills to recognize logical fallacies or to distinguish propaganda from fact. They Don’t really teach enough critical thinking or rational thought in school.

          I use websites run by the international fact-checking network. Poynter.
          Instead of Google, which reinforces previously held biases… I use factualsearch.news run by the same organization. You can filter based on biasse and reputation for factual reporting.

          Reuters and Associated Press are still among the best, but there are many science-based, and least biased news sources.

          Also, don’t be afraid to rely on left center or right center sources if they are highly factual and it’s not an editorial / opinion.

  21. Rhonda Clark

    You just said exactly what your accusing QAnon of..get out of town..everyone knows you all are busy trolls..Freedom of Speech for you as well as QAnon..Where were you when all the rioting and killing of innocent people..We didn’t see this talk then.

  22. Maybe Bob

    “known for hosting child pornography.”

    And yet the FBI allows the site to operate in the clear net?

Comments are closed.