By Duane Purcell, Level Renner Contributor
Residents of Flagstaff, Arizona were reportedly reeling Saturday morning from a massive outage of their cellular network and local internet service providers, leaving the entire Flagstaff region without Internet access.
The Ursus Arctos hacking group, which allegedly has ties to the Kremlin, have taken responsibility for this seemingly targeted hack against the region. A subset of Flagstaff’s population of 70,000 people is semi-nomadic, having moved to northern Arizona for its favorable conditions for endurance training and talking about said endurance training on social media. In fact, since the outage took place, Instagram has seen a 47% reduction of photos being posted alongside workout statistics and the elevation at which the workout was completed.
RollinsLabs, a company that developed the FitSnap mobile app enabling exercisers to superimpose factual or alternative-factual statistics onto photos and post them automatically to Instagram and Twitter, feels that their subscribers have been unfairly singled out. “The Russians couldn’t bring down Salazar’s group,” protested a company spokesperson, referring to the embattled Nike Oregon Project coach whose athletes’ therapeutic use exemptions were published by Russian hackers, prompting a half-hearted investigation but no suspensions. “So instead they went after all these fine #brand ambassadors looking to be the best they can be at elevation 6,900.”
“Maybe they should fess up and admit their athletes cheated, and hard-working Americans would never do that,” remarked the spokesperson. “Haven’t they ever seen Rocky IV? Our subscribers have…at elevation 7,200.”
Regardless, some Flagstaff-based athletes would not allow state-sponsored hacking to get in the way of doing their workout and proceeding to post about it on the Internet. One athlete, after a “solid 10-mile tempo at Lake Mary (elevation 6,895),” took the Acura sedan his mother gave him and drove it 150 miles to Phoenix so he could announce his workout to his 353 Twitter followers.
“We are determine to make sure our operative is most obnoxious social media user in United States [sic],” read a statement posted by Ursos Arctos, leading to speculation to which obnoxious social media user may be a Russian operative. “We declare victory over our adversary in the Flagstaff, and we will not hesitate to launch similar attacks in the Boston at elevation twenty and northern Virginia at elevation seventy.”
Before you start checking on your friends in Flagstaff, you best check the calendar. This contributor wished to remain anonymous but the spirit of it was quite appropriate for the day.