When members of a UK rock band decided to create a secret hacking-themed gaming website and hide clues to its existence in their new album, they didn’t anticipate how soon the site itself would get hacked.

About the game

The band Bring Me the Horizon created the alternate reality game as a special way for their most dedicated fans to interact with their music. The website was initially discovered by a listener who thought that a “strange sound” on the final song in the album might have a deeper meaning. After putting the track into an audio-editing software program, he discovered the audio elements created a unique spectrogram (a visual representation of sound frequencies) that was actually a scannable QR code.

Source: Tech Crunch

Upon scanning the code, listeners are taken to a mysterious website where they are required to enter a passcode hidden in the album’s cover art in order to access content. According to Tech Crunch, the game includes multiple levels and access points:

“[T]he game consists of a website where, among other things, the band uploaded some unreleased tracks, a folder protected by a ‘cipher,’ which led to more password-protected files, more mysteries, and more hidden Easter eggs, some of which are still unresolved and locked by unknown codes.”

About the hacking attempts

Less than 24 hours after the site’s initial discovery, some fans were already trying to work around the system and hacked it to advance faster in the game. Once the band members realized what was happening, they temporarily took the game offline and put up a warning that such behavior would not be tolerated, and any further attempts by users to break into the game would result in immediate denial of access. As the warning stated:

“It appears user/s have been illicitly hacking into the M8 server to decode hidden secrets. It’s my duty to inform you that this behaviour is both naughty and counterproductive! You see, the whole idea of this program is to unravel the mysteries at a tantalizing pace, allowing everyone to enjoy the thrill of discovery. By bypassing the system and sharing the secrets prematurely, you’re spoiling the fun for everyone!”

It also mentioned that it if such attempts continued, the band might stop adding to the game altogether, because the whole point of the website was for it to be a fun decoding experience:

“[L]et’s enjoy the journey, one decoded secret at a time… remember: curiosity is best served with a side of patience!”