In the early morning of January 7, all of North’s social media accounts and website went dark, but it was always a juke.
As all of North’s online presence disappeared, the Counter-Strike:Gobal Offensive community bought in to the latest social media tease. Even CSGO insider Richard Lewis was sucked in. It was good a good sell, but North left several signs that something a rebrand was incoming.
Twitter was where it all went wrong for North’s fake, and many bought it. The thing is, downloading a picture off the internet is really easy, as is comparing it to the default Twitter image.
Twitter uses PNG files for its default profile pictures. The default pictures are also indexed, which is a fancy way of saying that it’s color is stored in shades of black and white. It’s the coloring book equivalent of color’s binary code. In addition, all of Twitter’s default profile photos are named the same thing – “default_profile_400x400.png” and are exactly 400 by 400 pixels in size.
When downloaded, North’s current image was revealed to be a JPG. The photo on North’s profile may have looked like the default Twitter photo, but it stored its color values in the typical RGB channels. North’s image was 25 pixels off the Twitter default at 375 pixels square. Finally, Twitter renames every photo uploaded to its website as a string of unique gibberish. While North’s photo looked like the real thing, it was named in the same way as any other uploaded Twitter profile picture.
In other words, someone had uploaded a photo that looked just like the default Twitter egghead. Unfortunately, they didn’t cover their tracks well enough. Downloading the photo and comparing to a new profile without a profile image was enough to prove that North’s picture wasn’t the same.
North’s website was also suspect, as the 404 error didn’t seem to be an actual error. It was linked to a photo of the error, and wasn’t actually returned by the server. The image was hosted by webflow.com, a hosting and website building company similar to WordPress. A reverse image search yielded Russian sites with no Danes to be found.
It was always possible that someone hacked both North’s Twitter and website, deleted everything, and then tried to pretend that North just up and left, uploading a copy of Twitter’s default image to make it seem like they were deleted.
Usually, hackers that manage to hijack high-profile accounts want to brag, and the behavior exhibited by North’s accounts yesterday was the exact opposite of bragging.
If North ownership really did just wake up and decide it was time for the organization to bow out, they’d have issued an announcement. Employees would have updated their LinkedIn profiles and the players would have been signed to Gen.G immediately. Someone probably would’ve told Torbjørn “mithR” Nyborg that there was no need for practice on Saturday.
None of these things happened. All signs pointed to an organization that needed to drum up excitement for a team that has only group stage exits in their future. It’s not that North is bad, it’s that they’re not good. In today’s Counter-Strike environment, beating up on second tier teams won’t cut it.
Now that North’s new logo has appeared,
Stop baiting, Kjaebye.