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They hijacked our IRC channel, so we hijacked it back


2021-05-26


Freenode has been burning up their remaining goodwill at an increasing pace ever since the Freenode staff walked out the door and established irc.libera.chat. But recently they went completely nuclear and essentially hijacked all Freenode channels that even mentioned Libera.


This also included the channel I managed and frequented, #gamingonlinux, which was the official IRC channel GamingOnLinux.com. We decided to move it to Libera after a channel was basically established for us on Libera and then more strange details started surfacing about the Freenode debacle. So we set the topic to indicate we had moved and locked the doors behind us.


Well, today I found out that Freenode had essentially hijacked the channel, set it to invite-only, forwarded users to ##gamingonlinux and changed the topic. They are within their rights to do this, of course, but it was still a bit of a dick move and definitely looks pathetic.


But as it happens, they ended up doing a sloppy job. Either their bot borked or we were some sort of a prototype, but they forgot to clear the founders list. This left three of us will full access to the channel. I probably wouldn't have figured this out, but it was pointed out to me and I decided I'd see if I could hijack it back.


I could try to turn this into an epic hacker story, but ultimately the procedure was simple. Because the channel was in +i and +f mode, I first needed to get an invite to join. Easy enough.


    > /msg ChanServ INVITE #gamingonlinux
    > /join #gamingonlinux

After that I could easily clear the modes that were set. Naturally after that the next step was obvious.


    > /msg ChanServ TOPIC #gamingonlinux Proudly hijacked by Freenode

I played around with the modes for a bit longer but grew bored so I just set +m (moderated, nobody but ops and voiced can send messages) and left things more or less as they were before the hijacking.


Can they hijack it again? Of course, there's little we can do to stop them. But sometimes when you cannot win, you can take solace in being as annoying as you can be. For now we'll just wait for round two to start.


Anyway, PSA: use irc.libera.chat over Freenode.

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