Posts Tagged: ‘anonymous’

This morning, I read an Associated Press report about hackers associated with the group Anonymous posting information about current and retired police chiefs in West Virginia. According to the report, the hackers released this information in response to cases of police brutality. They also posted a message saying that police chiefs are victimizing the people who pay their “exorbitant salaries.”

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What a night. Nothing really illustrates the power of the Internet like a massive, semi-coordinated series of attacks on dozens of Web sites over the course of a few hours. That’s what’s going on as I write this blog post and it all stems from seven people targeted by the Department of Justice and the FBI. Those seven people were named in an indictment that charges them with crimes ranging from copyright violation to money laundering. According to CNET, if found guilty they could receive a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

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Wow, it’s true. If you type a word often enough, it starts to lose its meaning. But before I start to use the word hack as a koan in a meditation session, I thought it would be a good idea to do a quick news roundup of some hacking stories. Not all hacks are created equal the use of the words hack, hackers and hacking can sometimes be misleading.

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Welcome to the first of what I hope will be many news roundups of what’s going on in the tech world today. Below are some of the interesting stories developing in technology, accompanied by a little unbiased, objective and mature commentary from yours truly. Let’s get to it!

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PlayStation owners will have to wait a while longer before regaining access to the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. According to an official blog post on the PlayStation blog, the company began internal testing of the network last week. But until Sony is satisfied that the new security measures are working properly, the company won’t restore partial network service to the public. And Bloomberg reports that Sony executives are assuring users that full service to the network will return by May 31st. A blog post from April 27th said that Sony hoped to restore service within a week. But that was before Sony was fully aware of the extent of the security breach.

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A Daily Kos post by Happy Rockefeller about the recent tearing back of the flesh of the media that has revealed the very real propaganda that makes up much of its sinew and tissue — the result of the work of WikiLeaks, Anonymous, mainstream media stories about the Koch Brothers, prank calls by alt-weekly editors to state governors and the like — worries that it poses a real threat to social stability and the well-being of the general public.

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While controversy and allegations swirl around Julian Assange and Wikileaks, virtual warriors either siding with Wikileaks or opposing it are squaring off with their armies of infected computers around the world. They wage war against targets they’ve identified as possessing a conflicting philosophy from their own. Some people call such actions hactivism — using hacking tactics to push forward a particular agenda. Others just call it cyberwar.

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How do you handle a group of unidentified people who belong to a loosely-defined protest group that grew out of an online community best known for dark humor and shock tactics? It looks like the answer might be “grab them one at a time.”

CNN reports that Brian Thomas Mettenbrink may plead guilty to charges of committing cyber attacks against the Church of Scientology’s Web sites. CNN links Mettenbrink to the group Anonymous. Mettenbrink said he downloaded software that would allow him to commit a denial of service (DoS) attack against the church’s Web servers.

There are a few ways to commit a DoS attack, but the most common is to use a program to send millions of requests to a target Web server. The server gets bogged down trying to respond to all the requests and either slows to a crawl or crashes as a result.

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Around this time of year at the HowStuffWorks.com compound, our thoughts turn to our friends, family, readers and listeners. Specifically, our thoughts center around the theme of “what sort of presents can I get out of these people?” We’re not trying to be greedy. It’s just that demystifying the universe is a lot of work. Surely that puts us on the “nice” list, right?

That’s the spirit Chris and I embraced as we recorded Monday’s episode of TechStuff. We talked about some of our favorite technological gifts we had received over the years. Longtime listeners pointed out that I forgot an important gift in the list: my beloved HTC-G1 Android phone. I’ve since made up for this oversight by taking my phone out for a nice walk. We had a long talk and I think I’ve patched things up between us. We also chat about stuff we’d like this year as gifts. We don’t expect any of you to rush out and buy this for us. On the other hand, surprises are nice.

On Wednesday, we talked about the 4chan community image board and the mysterious group known as Anonymous. The 4chan community is famous for spawning Internet memes like LOLcats as well as having one of the most troll-infested, vulgar discussion channels on the Internet.

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Inspired by listener mail, Jonathan and Chris discuss 4Chan, the notorious image-sharing forum, and Anonymous, a loosely affiliated group of anonymous Internet users who often stage protests and actions in the real world.

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