Sunday, March 31, 2013

Michigan Indie Gets Hacked

There's an unusual headline blaring across the website for Michigan psychological drama The House That Jack Broke. It reads: "Our Regular Website Will Be Back Up and Running Soon!"

That's because for some unknown reason, a hacker recently decided to play havoc with the online assets of the film, written and directed by John W. Bosley. Everything was fine when the movie debuted February 16th in Coleman, MI. But the day after a second screening March 14th in Royal Oak, it all suddenly went haywire:

A hacker crashed every site pertaining to film and-or film productions located on the production’s server, leaving only one non-film-related site still up and running. Each time the webmaster fixed the sites or switched servers, the hacker returned. With only a week in between the Detroit and Lansing premieres, the hacker seemed to be intentionally targeting the ticket sales and promotion of the film specifically for the final premiere in Michigan’s capital.
"It was very clear that the hacker spent a considerable amount of time setting up the exact time to launch their attacks against our site," Bosley said. "They were watching our marketing on social media so that they would know exactly when our new servers went online and when our sites were able to start selling tickets again. Someone wasn't happy about our success with our film production and wanted to make sure that we didn't gain momentum, but their attack only strengthened our resolve."

Bosley used the power of online "Demand-It" campaigns for his trio of Michigan screenings (that final, above-referenced Lansing one took place March 21st). Since the film is set in Maine, he is now looking at taking it there next. He has also been contacted by a Los Angeles screening series.

It's entirely unclear why a hacker would be so concerned with a grassroots, Michigan independent film about a couple whose relationship becomes strained by an FBI investigation into a recent murder. A personal vendetta perhaps?

Update - 03/31/13: We heard after publication from Mr. Bosley, who offers some intriguing details in response to FilmStew 's questions: 

"On the law enforcement front, we are pursuing that issue this week. We were bouncing back this week from our constant marketing and had not found the time yet to file an official police report."

"From the information we've received, we believe the hacker may be another filmmaker (possibly one located in Michigan).  I was told by another filmmaker and an artist who has a website that when they went public on promoting their material online and gaining attention, that both their competition hacked their sites. I'm concerned that this might be a trend developing and these people need to understand that it is an illegal practice to hack someone's site."

"We are looking into Phase Two of our exhibition of the film and have decided to do a three-day weekend online exhibition for people to see. Our concern is that film festival runs or even touring it in other states on our own slows the process down too much. We have too many people in different places that all want to see it and the best way to get it to them as fast as possible is online."

"But the hacker issue still concerns us, so we will be exhibiting the film on Vimeo, where we believe it will have the best security."

[The House That Jack Broke]

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