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Dropbox admits Hactivist database leak was a hoax

Dropbox? Hacked by Anonymous? The news seemed a bit out of place at first, given that we never really knew that the latter had it in for the former.

And now, Dropbox representatives have officially emailed out a statement indicating that Dropbox's outage yesterday happened as a byproduct of "internal maintenance." The site wasn't hacked, and user data that was posted to Pastebin as supposed proof of the hack has a timestamp of 9 December. In other words, it isn't part of any alleged Dropbox hack either.

Dropbox itself was quick to throw up a blog post saying similarly yesterday:

"We are aware that the Dropbox site is currently down. This was caused during routine internal maintenance, and was not caused by external factors. We are working to fix this as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience," the post read.

The outage brought down Dropbox's cloud service via both the web and the company's desktop client. Dropbox's API also went down for the count, and hacktivist group "The 1775 Sec" was quick to jump to Twitter to claim involvement in the outage.

"BREAKING NEWS: We have just compromised the @Dropbox Website ," reads a Twitter post yesterday.

The group went on to chastise Dropbox and Dropbox Support Twitter accounts, threatening them that if they didn't "alert your customers of what's going on here," or "fix your websites vulnerability," then the group would leak the database of information it had allegedly purloined from Dropbox.

The group later went on to admit that the database threats were a hoax, and claimed that it had simply DDoS attacked the site to take it offline. Additionally, all of the fake claims were designed to get various technology reporters to send out incorrect news about the alleged database leak.

"Did anyone bother to do some research. lol. We made the Internet Reporters look like fools! That is what we did in your honor Aaron Swartz," reads a Twitter post by the group.

The reference relates to the one-year anniversary of the death of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who was involved in a number of different websites and organisations: Demand Progress, Reddit, and Creative Commons, as well as the working group that developed RSS. He was arrested in July of 2011 and accused of downloading more than four million academic articles from the JSTOR digital repository while at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Swartz faced 13 different felony charges related to document theft, carrying a potential sentence of more than $4 million (£8.4 million) in fines and 50 years imprisonment, when he hanged himself exactly one year ago today.

Last month, Dell added Dropbox for Business to its cloud line-up.