'Māori' hacker booby-traps Christchurch shooter's banned manifesto with virus

An online vigilante named 'Māori' has weaponised the banned manifesto of the Christchurch shooter.

California-based cybersecurity group Blue Hexagon has discovered a hack, which means those trying to read the shooter's 77-page manifesto could be in for a nasty surprise.

A hack online experts call 'Trojan Haka' has booby-trapped the document. If someone tries to download it, the hack forces the computer to reboot and a message is immediately displayed - "this is not us!" - a reference to our Prime Minister.

There's another version of the hack that's also been doing the rounds.

"The message was All Blacks rule," says Blue Hexagon researcher Irfan Asrar.

"We didn't actually understand this, we had to get somebody local from New Zealand to give us a better understanding."

Blue Hexagon says it appeared to be a simple hack, but could have been a deliberate attempt to throw authorities off the scent.

But even if 'Māori' was a white hat hacker with good intentions, authorities could go after them for creating malware.

"The actions taken here were basically a typical hacktivist activity, which is when they kind of want you to sympathise with the cause and the message - but they are really breaking the law here at the end of the day," Asrar says.

The Government's cyber security agency CERTNZ is aware of reports of 'Trojan Haka', but has had no reports of this malware affecting New Zealanders.

But if it were downloaded, Blue Hexagon says it can be recovered - people may just need a skilled technician to do it, and owe authorities an explanation.