Numerous reports suggest that a series of leaked confidential US documents that are now widely available on the internet may have originated from defunct chat rooms on the social media platform Discord, including one associated with fans of the video game Minecraft.
Discord is a messaging app created specifically for gamers and users who prefer an uncensored platform.
The leaked documents were released on ten papers hosted on a server called “Minecraft Earth Map” as early as March 4, which is a month before they were published on other servers.
While the source of the leaked classified documents may seem unusual, it is not the first time that a gaming-related dispute has resulted in a breach of intelligence. The overlapping communities of gamers and military personnel can create challenges for both groups.
Recently, a cache of documents that included estimates of casualties in the Bakhmut region of combat in Ukraine was leaked and began to circulate on public social networks.
Observers of the Ukraine war found two copies of the documents, one of which had been digitally edited to understate Russian losses and overestimate Ukrainian ones. The other, with accurate numbers, was leaked on the anonymous image board site 4chan.
It has been reported that modified versions of the documents were circulating on “pro-Russian” Telegram channels, in addition to the original leaks that first surfaced on public social networks. However, it is important to note that the private Discord chatrooms were actually the origin of the leaked data before it became public on the internet.
According to reports, the leaked documents that contained estimated casualties in the Bakhmut combat theater had been uploaded on a Discord server maintained by followers of the Filipino YouTuber “WowMao” three days before they appeared on public social networks. However, this server was not the original source of the documents. The documents were reportedly posted as early as mid-January on a third Discord server with various names, including “Thug Shaker Central.”
Read my interview with the New York Times! (bear in mind i had the mindset of what my future employer would think upon googlng my name)https://t.co/tlyWLcanhw
— wow_mao (@realwow_mao) April 11, 2023
Intelligence agencies have been aware of the need to monitor gaming communities for some time now. In fact, it was revealed in a 2013 document leak by National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden that the NSA was closely monitoring Xbox Live, Microsoft’s voice chat program and had even deployed operatives into Azeroth, the virtual world of the World of Warcraft video game series.