Seventh Harry Potter Hacked?

Someone claims to have hacked the Bloomsbury Publishing network, and has posted what he says is the ending to the last Harry Potter book.

I don't believe it, actually. Sure, it's possible -- probably even easy. But the posting just doesn't read right to me.

The attack strategy was the easiest one. The usual milw0rm downloaded exploit delivered by email/click-on-the-link/open-browser/click-on-this-animated-icon/back-connect to some employee of Bloomsbury Publishing, the company that's behind the Harry crap.

And I would expect someone who really got their hands on a copy of the manuscript to post the choice bits of text, not just a plot summary. It's easier, and it's more proof.

Sorry; I don't buy it.

EDITED TO ADD (7/25): I was right; none of his "predictions" were correct.

Posted on June 21, 2007 at 2:30 PM • 30 Comments


MikeAJune 21, 2007 2:45 PM

As someone at TheRegister has already pointed out, it's far more likely that this is step one of a phishing attack against H.P. fans. I can even imagine a "click here to download plugin for best effect" link.

RJune 21, 2007 2:48 PM

If you're going to fake something, surely you could fake a 'choice bit of text' as easily as a plot summary?

Fred PJune 21, 2007 3:06 PM


A choice bit of text would need to be consistent with the style and tone of Rowling's other writings to remain credible for long. Making any significant amount of text completely consistent with the style and tone of another author is hardly impossible, but it is a substantial amount of work.

ribwJune 21, 2007 3:15 PM

@Fred P

There's a lot of fan's work out there that mimics JK Rowling style pretty well.

Rich Wilson (formerly just Rich on older blog posts)June 21, 2007 3:18 PM

Given their level of English usage, I would say it would be effectively impossible for the writers of the plot summary to fake actual Rowling text.

monopoleJune 21, 2007 3:27 PM

Obviously the claimed exploit is faked, the hackers got in via a pair of vanishing cabinets.

Petréa MitchellJune 21, 2007 5:37 PM

When I saw that yesterday, my first doubt was over how well a person with that person's apparent level of English proficiency would have understood the real book even if they had found a copy of it.

SteveJune 21, 2007 6:20 PM

I know how it ends: Harry is having dinner with the Weasleys when suddenly, in the middle of a senten-

tjvmJune 21, 2007 10:14 PM

"There's a lot of fan's work out there that mimics JK Rowling style pretty well."

It seems to me that this actually provides some security for the real text. As each release date for a Harry Potter book approaches, there are numerous purported leaks of the text. So far, they've all turned out to be bogus -- either the text is written by the pranksters, or it's some appropriated fan fiction. If the real text ever did leak, no one would be able to tell that it was the real thing (at least, from the text itself).

AnonymousJune 22, 2007 2:19 AM never know... I mean, someone spoiled Dumbledore's death and lots of people probably were skeptic over that one too, but it turned out to be true.

It seems the hackers like spoiling deaths, which is unfortunately because it makes the death so less emotionally gob smacking.

Jan Egil KristiansenJune 22, 2007 3:50 AM

Posting a complete fake HP7 would be more impressive than hacking the the real thing.

But the most impressive hack would surely be changing a death in Rowling's text?

AleJune 22, 2007 4:42 AM

I am with viral marketing, maybe even by fans. If somebody really got their hands on that manuscript, extortion against Scholastic would be the ideal attack, not a lame post on a mailing list.

DavidJune 22, 2007 8:15 AM

> I mean, someone spoiled Dumbledore's death and lots of
> people probably were skeptic over that one too, but it
> turned out to be true

There are enough posts on fora about who'll die, some dozens of them will turn out to be right if only by chance.

Whoever "spoiled" Dumbledore's death in 6 more likely got lucky than was gifted with enough insight to see that it "had to be".

Bruce SchneierJune 22, 2007 8:34 AM

"Whoever 'spoiled' Dumbledore's death in 6 more likely got lucky than was gifted with enough insight to see that it 'had to be.'"

Somoeone posted scans of the offending pages. That wasn't luck or insight; that was an advance copy of the book.

Bill Needs NelpJune 22, 2007 9:12 AM

I've been having intermittent network connectivity problems (that can be corrected by rebooting) on my Mac - OS X - starting less than one minute after visiting that harry potter page. I'm not particularly gifted at technical stuff, but I just wanted someone over here to check it out to make sure there's nothing bad that I could have caught just by visiting. Thanks. Bill

Petréa MitchellJune 22, 2007 10:47 AM

"There's a lot of fan's work out there that mimics JK Rowling style pretty well."

In fact, there's alleged electronic copy of the next book that's been circulating for a couple months, which is actually a rebadged version of a fanfic originally called "The Seventh Horcrux". I haven't seen it myself, but apparently it's fooling a lot of people.

RaghuJune 22, 2007 3:41 PM

I dont buy this hackers post. I have re read the 6 books, and it doesnt seem like the ending Rowling would give. Besides a statement about Snape seems to tell that the plot is made up.
It is more likely that this person is trying to market himself among the people and moderators of that forum.

mad radhuJune 22, 2007 4:47 PM

If the Harry Potter text was stolen why isn't it on BitTorrent yet?

JimmmyJune 22, 2007 6:14 PM

When you do an Intelligence analysis don't must "impersonate" the attacker.

Because the goals of the attacker should be different from your and from what your point of view could understand.

As example: Gabriel is a chatolic-integralist and hate the book, giving the book to the people feed them interest in harry potter. This is not in the goal of Gabriel. but making a spoiler should create a plausible doubt and the same audience. This is the goal!

FluffyJune 22, 2007 6:26 PM

I have read the so called "spoiler" that sounds, to me, like a load of crap. If you go to the site and take a look @ the after comments it proves its just some wack job that thinks by posting something that, matter of fact isnt even remotely close to what a "real" hacker would put up, he/she can bring down that series of books. He/She even goes so far as to say that that series of books is leading children and others to Neo Paganism. Obviously he/she is a christain radical that is off his/her rocker. I mean no disrespect to anyone of christian faiths, just saying this "gabriel" needs to get a day job and stop posting things that are soo far fetched, and really dont have any proof to back them up. So if your reading this Gab, why dont you actually post parts of the book instead of "your" dreamed up supposed plot scheme.

TerriJune 23, 2007 8:27 PM

"In fact, there's alleged electronic copy of the next book that's been circulating for a couple months, which is actually a rebadged version of a fanfic originally called "The Seventh Horcrux". I haven't seen it myself, but apparently it's fooling a lot of people.

Posted by: Petréa Mitchell at June 22, 2007 10:47 AM"

That is a fanfic by Melindaleo and is QUITE good. She is STILL suffering problems related to this issue and is quite upset about it. She has even been accused of being the one to *leak* the story out. I am one who enjoys well written fanfic and she is one of the best. I guess it's a backhanded compliment to her writing ability, but it's still a problem at times.

LyNxJune 24, 2007 7:08 AM

...most of you offer nothing but worthless personal opinion. How about something definitive with at least one shred of evidence rather than "maybe this" or "possibly that". If the text has been stolen, so be it. Protection via education + real-world examples = resolve. If not, a fairly amusing prank that has given those with less than nothing constructive to do yet another podium on which to stand and voice their meaningless opinions which will, in the end, change nothing.

Luther BlissetJune 24, 2007 8:06 AM

The Harry Potter hoax, or manipulating the mass media for fun and for profit.

Harry Potter book has not been stolen.
It is an homebrew experiment of a well known military tactic named Psychological Operation (PSYOP), applied to Information Warfare.

In less than 48 hours a fake news has realized 200 newspaper publication (including BBC, CNN, REUTERS), 10.000+ blogs, many TV reportage, from the India to Southamerica.

PSYOPs can be summarized as: the creation of fake information, a partial description or censorship applied to mass media.

PSYOPs are widely used by non-democratic governments in different countries around the world and by big political-economical lobbies in western countries.

Our goal was to provide to the world citizen a proof of the vulnerability of today information society and let them think seriously about that.

HarriettJune 30, 2007 1:03 PM

Perhaps J.K. Rowling is working out her own issues. She is overserious and explores the limits too far! She shows no confidence by making Harry fail and is capitalizing from it. She moved too fast and can leave others behind. She oversteps the mark and can overestimate her own abilities. She can be scattered and her overbrimming confidence can lead her astray. She should try to see things at the human level and not neglect her own personal issues by being more flexible and coming off her cloud. She isolates in her writing and fosters relationships and should learn to process her own emotional issues. Where is her structure of belief? Where is Harry's spellbook and what's in it? A cherished friend would help Harry. She can't balme Voldemort for everything - Harry would always be subjected by her own tyranny. She causes us to understand not to cut herself off from reality through projection.

GabrielJuly 5, 2007 3:46 PM

the spoilers of Dumbledore's death last time happened 2 days BEFORE the official release. that was because some MOM and POP bookstores weren't told when to start selling the books and they started themonday before it was to be released. So, for a full week almost, anyone who happened across the bookstore got a treat. if someone had a book, they'd release it on torrent sites if, for no other reason, than up their ratio. there's some dude posting what looks like actual pages, yet the words are CRISP AND PERFECTLY LINED even tho' the book pages are blurry and bent at the binding. it's obviously photoshopped. if the spoilers happen, it'll happen about a 2 or 3 days before the book's actual release.

AnonymousJuly 13, 2007 6:22 PM

The 2 characters that die are none other than Tonks and Remus, but they aint eh only ones at the very very end there are 2 more deaths but thats after the lOTR style of epilogue that weddings, the arrival of harrys son ( theres a 4 year time skip) . as for the deaths i quote the book directly and tell the rest of you now IT IS ON BIT TORRENT!
"Snape had been sentenced to life in Azkaban, though Ron said his disposition was really no different than it had been at Hogwarts. The only thing that did seem to crack Snape’s surly indifference was news of Harry’s success. Ron’d said he’d nearly had kittens when he’d learned Harry had been awarded the Order of Merlin.
“Maybe you should stop and pay him a visit before you leave on your honeymoon,��? Harry said, grinning. “Ask him for a Potency-Increasing Potion or something. You and Hermione have some catching up to do.��?
Ron shoved Harry’s shoulder, causing him to stumble. Harry turned and sucker punched Ron in the gut as the two friends laughed, continuously strolling down the street. Perhaps it was grayness of the day causing them to hurry or just the excitement of the pending nuptials, but they passed a Muggle newsstand without casting a second glance at the headline…
Mysterious Deaths in Surry
Late last evening on a quiet street in Surry, a gruesome discovery was made. Vernon and Petunia Dursley were found dead in their home. Both victims were found seated at their kitchen table, but a source close to the investigation tells us no cause of death is readily apparent. Both victims had been in relatively good health, although Mr. Dursley suffered from high blood pressure and a dangerous cholesterol level. Still, this wouldn’t explain how both victims died at the same time with no obvious sign of foul play.
The doors to their house on Privet Drive remained locked, and there was no sign of forced entry. The Dursleys are survived by one son, Dudley, who was unavailable for comment, although one neighbor claimed to have seen him in the area on the day of his parents’ mysterious deaths. The source tells this reporter that the strangest thing about the case is the expression of terror on both victims’ faces. The source claimed it was as if they’d been frightened to death…
***THE END***

AnonymousJuly 13, 2007 10:10 PM

nice fake ending there... based on posts by JKR herself on her website, the final word of the book was supposed to be scar, but it was pushed a little ways back up... besides, I seriously doubt Bloomsbury or Scholastic would allow the Potent-increasing formula for even being allowed into a CHILDREN'S novel... geez, get a life and wait another week like everyone else.

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