On imageboards (aka chans), users share text and images anonymously. Thus, their users call themselves “anons”. Since anons can post without their real name, many people post content that would otherwise be disallowed or too controversial. This mix of social outcasts and lax rules gave birth to a strong hacker trend you’ve probably heard of: Anonymous. But even as the era of Anonymous came and past, the chan scene still hosts a lot of unique hacking content and hacker groups. Hacker imageboards are alive and kicking, and we’re going to give you a tour.
If you already browse imageboards, you likely know about the two big ones: 4chan & 8chan (before its decline). Although 4chan’s /g/ board still has some cool stuff, these two boards have mostly fallen into irrelevance when it comes to hacking.
Let’s start looking at imageboards! We’ll provide links to all of them, in case you want to look around for yourself.
Lainchan: the queen of hacker imageboards
The primary chan for hackers, Lainchan is a cyberpunk haven where users talk about malware, hacking, and security in general. The founders of Lainchan based it on the classic anime, Serial Experiments Lain. Due to the show’s popularity among cyberpunks, the site organically attracted skilled hackers, coders, and techies.
They also publish an excellent zine
Created by Lainchan users after a dispute about how the site runs, Arisuchan has a very similar culture. Even the boards are close to what Lainchan offers:
Sadly, the site’s small user base makes it less than ideal for connecting with other hackers.
Dvach is the only non-English chan in this list. Serving the Russian chan scene, Dvatch sets itself apart from other Russian imageboards by offering a diverse set of tech boards:
Famous for its harsh, anti-PC culture just as much as its /i/ board full of top notch hackers, 94chan boasts some of the strongest hackers in the imageboard scene.
For example, the screenshot below shows 94chan’s hackers going after a federal informant.
Few boards would go after such a sensitive target, which is why hackers go to 94chan: they’re interested in real underground hacking.
The Party (a brotherhood of hacker imageboards)
The party is a community of imageboards that house mostly younger hackers. Due to the youthful energy of their users and their popularity, they are the biggest raid boards online. A typical raid from The Party includes spam of ugly “soyjak” images on the target board. But sometimes, they do have more technical skill.
Thanks to its /ctf/ board where users post hacker challenges, 13channel has quickly risen to become one of the main chans for the hacker community. Like many other chans in this guide, 13channel, also hosts an /i/ board where users plan raids and pranks on other sites. But uniquely, 13channel’s raids have a friendlier tone. By focusing on jokes and fun pranks, they avoid the legal troubles that plagued /i/ boards in the past.
Despite its active user base, 13channel only has a small handful of boards:
During the height of the Anonymous hacktivist movement, 711chan hosted the internet’s biggest raids. Although the site has few users today, it’s still the home of many elite hackers. For example, their exploits board recently uncovered a zero day XSS attack on Tumblr.
Like pretty much all chans, 711chan is abrasive – but they have talent and its worth checking out if you want to fully know the underground scene.
Unlike other chans, Urchan runs on Urbit, a controversial new technology with promising features for hackers. Although Urchan isn’t a hacking board, a lot of underground hackers do post there.
You can find instructions for joining the group here: https://urbit.org/getting-started
Urchan tends to have more skilled members than other boards because the complexity of joining Urbit keeps out a lot of newbies. Although their biggest board is about tech in general, start a hacking thread and you’ll soon be talking with some of the best hackers in the scene.
Unlike the other boards listed, Honeychan is a trap! It’s a site listed on allchans.org to detect spammers and bots. Although you can post to Honeychan, I suggest you don’t, because you may be listed as a bot!
Honeychan’s purpose, though amusing, shows the lengths to which admins go to defend their boards against other hacker groups.
Unlike the infamous (and now dead) kiwi farms, which actually harassed victims, lolcow.farm doxxes internet personalities and mocks them. Sometimes, this leads to raids. Due to the obsession that this kind of stuff generates, lots of smart hackers end up getting sucked into this world.
Unlike other boards that justify their hacking through activism or funny pranks, lolcow.farm is pretty nihilistic.
2chan: the mother of hacker imageboards
2chan is the original imageboard that all of chan culture sprang from. It has boards on hacking, databases, networking, and just about anything a hacker could want! The only downside? Posts outside of Japan. A VPN might help, but they discourage that and often block it when detected.
However, you can read the site using Google Translate, and see what Japan’s best hackers are up to in the underground hacker imageboards scene!
The future of underground hacker imageboards
As we’ve seen, chans have hundreds of smart, gifted hackers. Still, chan culture is slowly dying and unlikely to ever regain its former glory. That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy learning about hacker culture on imageboards. But it does mean that less and less exciting new hacks occur on chans and their subcultures.
These days, you’re more likely to discuss anime and Linux on a chan than cracking software. I recommend enjoying the imageboard hacker underground while it still exists, before it disappears into the history books like the BBS boards that came before it.
Be careful when joining these boards not to engage in any risky or immoral hacking. It’s one thing to learn about the underground, and another to participate in black hat raids. Only engage in ethical hacking and be careful to follow local laws and regulations.