HACK­ING

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - RE­BECCA FITZGIB­BON fitzgib­bonr@news.net.au

Cy­ber ac­tivism on the rise.

HACK­ING may be a se­ri­ous crime but ‘‘ cy­ber ac­tivists’’ tackle it for dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

Anony­mous and LulzSec are two in­ter-re­lated hack­ing ac­tivist groups that go about ac­tivism in very dis­tinct ways.

Anony­mous is a group ini­ti­at­ing ac­tive civil dis­obe­di­ence through the in­ter­net, while stay­ing hid­den.

Orig­i­nat­ing about 2003 on the im­age­board 4chan, Anony­mous rep­re­sents the con­cept of online com­mu­nity with users si­mul­ta­ne­ously act­ing as an an­ar­chic, unor­gan­ised group.

Anony­mous hacks are rel­a­tively se­ri­ous and po­lit­i­cally-mo­ti­vated. The free-form or­gan­i­sa­tion has launched com­puter at­tacks against cor­po­ra­tions such as Master­Card, Visa, Pay­Pal and oth­ers that had blocked do­na­tions to whistle­blow­ing web­site Wik­iLeaks.

While there may be up to 15 Anony­mous par­tic­i­pants be­hind bars world­wide and an­other two UK teens set for court in Jan­uary, it is im­pos­si­ble to catch them all.

The brand of lead­er­less re­sis­tance has a phan­tom cell struc­ture; small, independent groups ( covert cells) and in­di­vid­ual par­tic­i­pants ( solo cells) work to­gether re­motely to­wards a group ( open­sourced) aim.

LulzSec’s ac­tions can be far from laugh­able, but LulzSec ul­ti­mately makes a par­ody of se­cu­rity or­gan­i­sa­tions to make its point.

An­tiSec, or Op­er­a­tion Anti-Se­cu­rity, is a se­ries of co-or­di­nated hack­ing at­tacks per­formed by mem­bers of hack­ing group LulzSec, the group Anony­mous, and oth­ers.

LulzRaft is the name of a Cana­dian hack­tivist group that has gained in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion re­cently af­ter a se­ries of high-pro­file at­tacks on Cana­dian web­sites, in­clud­ing the Con­ser­va­tive Party of Canada and Husky En­ergy.

WHAT THEY DO

Cy­ber hack­tivism of­ten en­tails web­site de­face­ments, redi­rects, de­nial-of-ser­vice at­tacks, in­for­ma­tion theft, web­site par­o­dies, vir­tual sit-ins, and vir­tual sab­o­tage.

WHY THEY DO IT

Hack­tivists use com­puter net­works as a means of protest to pro­mote po­lit­i­cal ends, ad­vo­cat­ing ex­pres­sive pol­i­tics, free speech, hu­man rights, and in­for­ma­tion ethics through soft­ware de­vel­op­ment. Last year Anony­mous mounted Op­er­a­tion Pay­back to pun­ish pro-copy­right groups that had cracked down on in­ter­net piracy or come out against Wik­iLeaks and its founder, Ju­lian As­sange, in­clud­ing Master­Card, Visa, Pay­Pal, and the web­site of As­sange critic Se­na­tor Joe Lieber­man.

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