Coded 4chan Post Hinted at Westminster Attack a Day in Advance

By Bryan Menegus on at

Details are still emerging about an attack carried out today outside the Houses of Parliament. As officials try to determine the identity of a suspect who was shot by police, a 4chan thread from less than 24 hours earlier appears to announce the location of the attack that has claimed three lives so far.

Shortly after the attack, 4chan users speculated that a post from yesterday seemed to reveal the attacker’s plan, worrying that its existence would lead to the site being shut down.

This announcement, posted at approximately 3pm on Tuesday, appeared on the site’s politically incorrect (/pol/) imageboard from a user with the ID n1SoXPxb—the only post by that ID across any 4chan board—with an image of two handguns and a code. The user is flagged as Danish though they could just as easily have been using a VPN to obfuscate their location.

The user posted a string of Morse Code dots and dashes which translate to: “gotohttp://pastebin.com/zluxdmza.” That Pastebin page contains a simple binary code which, when deciphered, points to a GPS location near Big Ben, close to where the attacker reportedly crashed his vehicle on Wednesday.

Because the Pastebin page was created by a guest account, it could not have been changed after the fact, and /pol/ users responding at the time of the thread’s creation noted then that the code referred to England’s famous clocktower. That Pastebin file has been viewed nearly 4,000 times at the time of this writing.

The possible assailant’s Pastebin post.

The attached image of two guns is pulled an unrelated forum post from 2010, though with the phrase “/pol/ 21-3-2017” crudely Photoshopped in. It’s unknown currently if the assailant had a firearm, but the threatening intent is clear.

The attack itself is currently being treated as an act of terrorism, according to The Guardian. Witnesses have described the assailant as an Asian man in his 40s.

Though currently archived, the original post still appears on /pol/. “I understand the situation,” current 4chan owner Hiroyuki Nishimura told Gizmodo, “We are ready to respond for law enforcement agency.”