The day ‘hackers’ told 6 year old autistic children that they should ‘kill yourself’

For those of you who don’t know me, I started Autcraft, a Minecraft server just for children (and adults) with autism where they can play the game safely, free from the bullying that they found on other servers. Up until April 6th, 2016, I had done a pretty good job of that. But first, let’s go back to 2013.

In June 2013, I started the server and told a few hundred people… 2 days later, I had 750 emails in my inbox. Word had spread like wildfire. Why? Because there were far more kids being bullied than I had realized.

About 3 weeks after launching the server, I got word from hackers and trolls that their fellow hackers and trolls were targeting the server. Three weeks. That’s all it took. And the server has been under constant attack ever since. I’ve never told anyone that until now.

In part of my job of keeping these children safe, I keep this information from them. It hurts to know that there are people in the world targeting them around the clock, around the year, simply because they exist… simply because they have autism, something they never chose for themselves, something they can’t possibly do anything about. In fact, I struggled for a little while in deciding whether or not to even write about this… but here I am.

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On April 6th, 2016, two people attempted to hack into the Autcraft server and failed.

What they did succeed in doing, however, was to hijack our IP address, effectively redirecting all the traffic from our server to a server of their own.

The children that signed on to play, some as young as 6 years old, signed on to their server instead of mine. Once there, they were encased in a bedrock box from which they could not leave and were told that they were rejects from society, degenerates and that they should kill themselves.

When I asked these guys why they’d do such a thing, they responded “it’s funny.

They told us that we’d never figure out what they had done or how to stop it and that they’d continue doing it unless we paid them $1000.

Less than an hour later, with the help of the incredible guys at EZP Hosting, we had regained control of our IP and moved the server to another location. The good news is that only a few of the children ever came into contact with these monsters. The bad news is that a few of the kids came into contact with these monsters.

Having failed that, they turned to a DDOS attack, attempting to make Autcraft unplayable for everyone because if they couldn’t tell the children to kill themselves directly, then they’d at least try to take everything away from them that they could.

This attack was quite massive in scale and was maintained for almost two weeks straight. Luckily, again, we were able to outsmart them and find ways to get around their attacks and the children played on, completely unaware that anything was even happening.

I wish I could say that these were the only people who’d do such a thing but they’re not… not by a long shot.

This is the reality for a child and even for an adult living with autism.

Monsters lurk in the shadows of the Internet, ashamed and afraid to show their face but all to willing to tell perfectly innocent little children that they are rejects and should kill themselves.

Now my hosting costs have gone up, having added in new anti-DDOS measures, more services, better protection. Every time these things happen, the amount of work and the amount of bills goes up, all in an effort just to play a game in safety, like everyone else takes for granted.

For the record, I got the guy’s home IP address and gave it to the police… they will do nothing.

I got the guy’s IP address and username and gave it to Mojang… they will do nothing.

We are left with no choice but to continue to hide away as many autistic children on my server as we can, where they’ll be safe… or at least, as safe as I can make it… and why?

Because the monsters are still out there and no one will do anything about it.

People still ask me why I created Autcraft. This is why.


If you’d like to contribute and support Autcraft, please become a Patron at https://www.patreon.com/autismfather?ty=h or donate directly at http://donate.autcraft.com

Thank you.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of http://www.stuartduncan.name. My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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33 Responses to The day ‘hackers’ told 6 year old autistic children that they should ‘kill yourself’

  1. artwork234 April 23, 2016 at 9:35 am #

    I have had trolls make fun or say rude things to me on line not many but don’t understand why they do it you know they never dare do it in person .just loser I’m an adult with autism

  2. person April 23, 2016 at 10:16 am #

    This is why I tell almost no one that I’m autistic. I would prefer not to be targeted for such an interesting chance in my life. Good man.

    Just post the IP for others to mess with.

  3. Char April 23, 2016 at 10:39 am #

    I don’t worry about my son online, he is severely autistic , although he is 20 years old now, he still cannot read or write. But my grandson who 4 and who is not autistic plays with tablets all the time and finds a game called 5 Nights With Freddy. Who ever Freddy is wants to burn down McDonalds and kill Ronald McDonald when I saw him playing the game. Who ever is making up that game should be stopped! And we wonder why kids resort to using guns.

    • Seriously April 23, 2016 at 6:34 pm #

      That’s… not what Five Nights At Freddy’s is about. At all.

  4. MissPotato April 23, 2016 at 10:41 am #

    While I’m not a fan of doxing/dosing I’m not opposed to scaring a few kids. The authorities have made it quite clear that they wont stop federally illegal attacks, so at least I know anyone who does it will be safe.

    • Yusaku April 24, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

      i really hope no child ever has to come into contact with you in your lifetime if you are in support of people trying to drive 6 year olds to suicide

  5. Jenna Glatzer (@GhostwriterJG) April 23, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

    Sometimes it’s a matter of finding the right policeman. I was being cyberstalked years ago and my local police were very “meh” about it for a solid year. Then out of the blue, a detective in another state contacted me and said that he had arrested the guy… he had stalked other people, too, and they found my info when they dug into his files. Then he said, “I don’t understand why your local police didn’t catch him. It wasn’t hard to set up a sting.” The guy ended up killing himself in police custody and I’m not real sad about it, by the way. But the only reason he was caught was that one police detective cared.

  6. Finny April 23, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

    If I’m correct many jurisdictions will punish someone for a DDoS attack.

    At any rate, these people are truly monsters. How is it funny to tell young children to kill themselves? Boggles my mind.

  7. Amber Heart April 23, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    Give the IP address that you acquired, along with the username, and post it on Reddit and send it on over to Anonymous.

    The authorities might not do anything, but some people will.

    • Songthe April 24, 2016 at 8:59 am #

      Do not listen to the person above me. Definitely DO NOT give the IP to Reddit, of all the bad advice in the world. 99% guarantee the people doing the harrassing are on Reddit. It’s as bad as 4chan or 8chan. DO NOT GIVE THE IP
      TO REDDIT.

      • warsie April 25, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

        “reddit” is a giant website, some parts of reddit hate each other.

        also agreeing with ‘lol post the IP’ though its prolly a proxy

  8. James Butcher April 23, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

    You need to pass that I address on to white hat hackers, they see it as there duty to take out the black hats (the type of hackers who targeted you)

  9. Micah McQueary April 23, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

    I just wanted to log in to here to say thank you for doing this. Thank you so much. I used to be a part of a minecraft server as a moderator and I can say from some perspective that I understand (only to a small extent) of what it is to see people being targeted for no reason other than their disability. It’s disgusting that human nature can get to this point. But thankfully when I see a few of these terrible human beings, there’s at least one amazing person shining just as brightly.

  10. Janice Rips April 23, 2016 at 8:25 pm #

    I just sent this to a friend whose husband is FBI. I don’t know if anything will come of it, but I couldn’t just sit by and do nothing. Thank you again, Stuart, for trying to provide safe autistic space. I have often thought about signing my son up for Autcraft, but I’m trying to take my cues from him. Thank you for being there and caring.

  11. Chris April 23, 2016 at 10:41 pm #

    It wouldn’t be “white hat” so much as “grey hat” if you passed along the guy’s IP address, but I’d still encourage it.

  12. kankurette April 24, 2016 at 4:14 am #

    Hiya, hope you don’t mind but I’ve linked your article on my blog. I’m an autistic woman and I write a blog about it. Those poor kids. I’m glad you made the server and I hope you can continue to keep those kids safe.

  13. Christan, aspie mom April 24, 2016 at 9:46 am #

    Give it to Anonymous. I’d love to see them shred these people who truly are not fit for society.

  14. Bob K April 24, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

    Have you contacted your state’s attorney general or the local FBI office? They’re likely to be more sophisticated than the local P.D. and the attempted extortion would be something they’d also understand.

  15. Crackicus April 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

    If the police and Mojang won’t do anything, just disseminate these punks’s IP addresses to the public. Let vigilante justice take the wheel from there.

  16. Shadow Blade (@shadowblade247) April 24, 2016 at 9:37 pm #

    hey, I run a similar-type of server also and have run into similar people, can you flick me the IP? If it’s the same people police here have said they’ll get onto it as I suffered a strong DDOS also that almost crashed us, plus lots of harassment when they found out it was a female running the server also. Thanks 🙂

    • AnotherFemaleRunningServers April 25, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

      “lots of harassment when they found out it was a female running the server” – this makes me sick and angry. But at the same time I am not surprised. If the monsters are so immature and weak that they had to hide behind their monitors and keyboards to attack children, they would naturally possess a few disappointing traits of losers and cowards.

  17. Emily April 25, 2016 at 2:49 am #

    Give Anonymous their IP addresses and let them sort it

  18. desertwind@yahoo.co.uk April 25, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

    What rock did the cretin who did this crawl from under

  19. Bob Jenkins April 25, 2016 at 9:28 pm #

    I’m sorry this happened to you and those children. Maybe one day we will be free of these horrible people or at least free of their ability to cause damage, who only seek their own gratification through the destruction of other peoples work and self worth.

    Keep up the good fight Stuart and you have my support for what its worth.

  20. David Massey April 26, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    Just post their IP address here.

  21. someone April 26, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

    It’s not like a IP used for DoS could not changed easily. When they now have some resources availiable for DoS, they can get other resources as one is burned.
    Trying to “give it to anonymous” is a bad idea. Not because (all of them) are bad, but because they are not your personal army (that’s their official formulation) and attempts to use them as personal army triggers some trolling which would not have happend else, because nobody would have given a fuck.
    And that’s another point. React to trolling by ignoring it. It’s not so much fun to keep DoS, when you don’t see any reaction to it. It may keep a while, then they will move on to a more interesting target. The more “butthurt” you show yourself, the more interesting it gets.
    Best idea to protect yourself is not to tell your weaknesses everybody. Go to a normal server, do not tell and just play with the others. Now you’re no more target than everyone else could be, while saying “that’s an autist only” server makes you stand out and be more of a target than the hundreds of other MC servers. You can still inofficially run it as such one, but telling someone “you’re a special snowflake” triggers interest in trolling as well.
    That’s how to deal with trolls. Be uninteresting, do not stand out of the mass, do not react to provocation. Don’t activly fight, you’ll lose. You may have less resources and the fight hurts you, while the troll enjoys it. So do not fight, you only can lose, even when it’s finally a win in court or whatever.

    • Christan Bush April 26, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

      You do realize that these people told a SIX YEAR OLD BOY to go kill himself, right? How exactly do you ignore that, or better yet, how exactly do you work a six year old through that? Anonymous will do what Anonymous wants, but I expect if they released customers’ personal information to protest a BART decision to block cell service that at least some of them would be more than happy to give these monsters a good shake down. While your advice is all well and good for the jerk hiding behind his keyboard in chat room or article comment section like this one, it falls woefully short of what is needed in this case.

      Your “special snowflake” analogy is inept in this instance because the logic of the special snowflake people is that they are entitled to special treatment because they are somehow better and more remarkable than everyone else. What this man has attempted to do for his son and others in the autism community is to provide them an environment safe from the torment that too many of them already receive in the real world and that they are now being subjected to in the virtual world. What you call “entitlement,” I call safety precautions. You are moving dangerously close to victim blaming…”If you hadn’t created a separate served for those with ASD, these hackers wouldn’t be targeting you…” I guess the girl in the short skirt was asking for it, too?

  22. Daniel Rehbein April 26, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    I came in contact with the internet in the early 1990’s. We used to discuss in the newsgroups of the usenet. And at that time we were relly certain that we would come to a better world, a world of equality, participation and world wide understanding – just because of this new communication and discussion instrument.

    We had these guidelines called “netiquette” reminding that on every communication there is a human on the other end of the line. RFC 1855 said: “A good rule of thumb: Be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you receive. You should not send heated messages even if you are provoked”.

    But nowadays we have to recognize that this high available interconnectedness not only makes it easier to bring people together, but it also increases the outreach of hate speech. Haters are part of our world, offline and online – but especially the online world is for these people a powerful instrument to spread their hate. So just a few individual haters can have a huge impact, and can spoil many humans soulfulness.

    It is really bad that you cannot just ignore them, that you have to spend money to protect the servers against the persistent attackers. I wish you power and support to not give up.

    Greetings from Dortmund.

  23. R. Brown April 27, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

    Maybe a chat word whitelist filter? I have seen other games made for children use this. It’s not a total solution from harassment but would eliminate the more vile messages.

  24. J J V May 5, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

    This is just terrible. The only way to deal with bullies is be one yourself, but to the bullies.

    I have an idea. Tell them that cops arrest people like them when they are told of it. They will disagree probably 98% of the time when you ask that. Then say that you are a very good hacker, and that you have their address and will be sending the cops there shortly if they don’t leave. If you’re lucky, A VAST majority will leave, scared like Nether, but, if unlucky, one or a lot will actually be smart and say “what is my address then u asshole?” You will be pretty stumped and might just stop there unless you are VERY smart on what to say next or you are actually a hacker and can find that.

    Hey, it’s worth a try.

  25. Tiffany August 8, 2016 at 10:46 pm #

    Thanks for trying to provide a bully free zone for autistic kids that like minecraft.

  26. Jessica December 13, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    Hi Stuart,

    First, I’d like to commend you for your amazing efforts as a dad with special needs children. Second, I’ve had dealings with online trolls, and all I can recommend is you pursue a different pathway for a charitable cause for your kids that doesn’t involve “gaming” or any other “mainstream” activities. It’s “The world” out there, and not everyone is in touch with reality. Such trolls are really just society’s rejects with no life and nothing good to say. I mean, come on, they’re hackers on Minecraft…enough said. All the best

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