Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/03/28/mccain_myspace_prank_hack/

McCain 'comes out for gay marriage on MySpace'

Revenge prank pokes fun at presidential hopeful

By John Leyden

Posted in Security, 28th March 2007 11:00 GMT

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain's MySpace page was commandeered on Tuesday to display a satirical message suggesting the Conservative was now in favour of gay marriage, particularly between "passionate females".

The prank was orchestrated by Mike Davidson, chief exec of Newsvine, after he noticed that the Senator's aides has taken a MySpace layout template he'd designed without credit. McCain's page used unmodified imagery to create the "Contacting John McCain" table.

Adding insult to injury, the image to create this table was served from Newsvine's site, costing the firm extra bandwidth charges every time someone visited McCain's MySpace page.

Davidson was relaxed about McCain's use of his code but irritated by politicians, like McCain, who get their aides to establish MySpace pages they pretend they actually use in a bid to "connect" with younger audiences. He was further irritated by a Newsweek article that listed McCain's MySpace page.

Fortunately, Davidson has set up his server to serve his real "contact me" image if the image was referenced from his own MySpace page, but a sample image if it was served from anywhere else.

So by changing this sample image, the content on McCain's MySpace page was easily changed to read: "Today I announce that I have reversed my position and come out in full support of gay marriage...particularly marriage between two passionate females."

Davidson described the prank, which he said was not politically motivated, as the perfect hack.

"The only thing necessary to effectively commandeer McCain's page with my own messaging was to simply replace my own sample image on my server with a newly created sample on my server. No server but my own was touched and no laws were broken. The immaculate hack," he said.

McCain's aides moved quickly to remove the offending image but not before Davidson was able to grab screen grabs and document his hack here. ®