Celestia founder relives crashing CIA website and hacking Westboro Baptist Church in early years


Celestia founder relives crashing CIA website and hacking Westboro Baptist Church in early years

Celestia TIA +5.01% founder Mustafa Al-Bassam has spoken again about his backstory after posts on X surfaced about his hacking days when he was a teenager.

“My favourite hack was not [the] CIA,” Al-Bassam said on X, but the Westboro Baptist Church, “which we hacked on a live radio show.” He clarified that the CIA event wasn’t a hack but a DDoS attack.

Al-Bassam pointed his followers to a book about the hacker group Anonymous, which he’s featured in, and said he was talking about his past after other posts had mentioned it.

In a previous interview with This Is Money, he has said that the Westboro Baptist Church was his favorite act when he was with the hacker group LulzSec. His second favorite event from his hacking days was his involvement helping activists in Tunisia secure themselves against government surveillance.

When he was just 18 years old, Al-Bassam, and three others, pleaded guilty to multiple cyberattacks, including the CIA, the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency, Sony, News International and the NHS, according to The Independent.

Al-Bassam — who used the alias tFlow — Jake Davis and Ryan Ackroyd were core members of LulzSec, prosecutors said in a court case in 2013, along with an unnamed fourth hacker, The Independent reported. It was only around for a few months before they were arrested. Many of its followers had made donations using bitcoin.

“Al-Bassam — tflow — had experienced firsthand the force of the law knocking at his door, and did so after months of engagement in direct action for causes he believed in,” said Gabriella Coleman in Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous.

Celestia is a data availability network that’s built in a modular fashion. Its token TIA went live following an airdrop in October 2023 and has appreciated in price since then, reaching its current price just shy of $20 — only a scratch off all-time highs.


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