Streetwise Professor

February 11, 2012

The Hacking News

Filed under: Politics — The Professor @ 2:40 pm

A few Anonymous/hacking stories.

1. A group claiming to be part of Anonymous announced a threat against Israel.

This is worth listening to if only because it illustrates perfectly the group’s extreme presumptuousness, its arrogation of power and judgment, its claim to be judge, jury, executioner, and arguably God. “WE have tolerated”; “WE have let your sins go unpunished”; “You are unworthy to exist.” Yes, the rest of us should have no problem with unaccountable individuals taking such weighty matters into their own hands. What could go wrong?

Though I am actually hoping they go after Israel. You know, the country most likely responsible for Stuxnet. So I’m sure it will be an even match.

2. This is because two of the other stories tell you something about just how skilled, or not, Anonymous is. First, Anonymous claims to have taken down the CIA’s public website with a DDoS attack. DDoS is hardly skilled hacking. Hacking is like safe cracking: DDoS is like French farmers dumping a load of manure in front of the door of a McDonalds. Not really a lot of skill involved.

Second, the hack of Syrian government emails hardly appears to be that crafty either:

In the fall of 2007 Israel reportedly hacked into Syria’s air defense systems and disabled them, as a prelude to bombing a nuclear facility in the Syrian desert. This vaunted cyber exploit, it turns out, might not merit its spectacular reputation. Last week, the shadowy online activist group known as Anonymous penetrated 78 email accounts from Syria’s ministry of presidential affairs and posted their contents online. The hackers found that many of the accounts, including that of the allegedly computer-savvy Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, used one of the world’s weakest passwords: 12345. So much for Syrian cybersecurity.

I only have one bone to pick with that account: 12345 is THE weakest password.

This provides further evidence that the exhibitionists from Anonymous are largely opportunists, typically using either brute force methods like DDoS, or taking advantage of egregious security lapses.

3. That’s not to say that Anonymous cannot be damaging. It’s just that it damages innocent people. Hackers claiming an Anonymous connection broke into state computers in Alabama, and stole personal information on over 40,000 people. Yeah, that’s really sticking it to the 1 percent.

4. The alleged motive for the Alabama hack was that the state had the termerity to pass a tough immigration law. Whatever: these creeps can always find some excuse, and again substitute their unaccountable judgment for that of the duly elected legislature and governor of Alabama, who are subject to a variety of checks and balances–including the requirement that they need face the voters of the state. Something that the wussies from Anonymous would never do. [I cleaned that up.]

5. The CIA hackers claimed to be anti-pedophilia. What pedophilia has to do with the CIA escapes me. But this does illustrate that these people feel obliged to wrap themselves in some cause to justify their predations. The choice of pedophilia as a cause is quite interesting. A technology that greatly enables the distribution of child pornography–Tor–is also used by hackers to cover their tracks, and self-styled internet freedom fighter Jacob Appelbaum is involved with it, and evangelizes it heavily. When confronted with this dark side of Tor, Appelbaum and others wax eloquent (OK, they wax) about how Tor helps dissidents escape state persecution. This is a dishonest dodge, and it is quite interesting that some hackers now try to wrap themselves in the anti-pedophilia banner. Except they don’t go after pedophiles. They go after the CIA instead. Makes perfect sense.

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  1. Hopefully Mossad can identify a sufficient number of them. Another group of petty left wing ideologues cloaking themselves in righteousness.

    Comment by pahoben — February 12, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

  2. Yes, well they do sound like a lot of bombast. And going after Israel. They might choose their enemies more carefully. The whole idea of being anonymous about their grand pronouncements. As if they they don’t sound like petulant teenagers. Oh well.

    Comment by David Hoopes — February 13, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

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