I’m reading Neuromancer now, so this video about “code as a weapon” jumped out at me. I’m still not sure how much of the hacker talk these days is hype, and plenty of .mil folks have obvious motivations to scare the public about cyber threats and viruses crashing trains and taking down power grids and all the rest. That said, as more and more systems connect to the integrated info grid and store their data in the cloud, it’s inevitable that weaponized viruses will appear with the capacity to do serious damage. Whether it’s now or a decade from now.
Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus from Patrick Clair on Vimeo.
Kind of shocking to see the phrase “false flag events” in PC magazine. I’m inclined to think LulzSec is legit, but who knows?
Out of the blue, Citigroup was hacked, then the CIA, and then the FBI and other groups were hacked. Now I’m finding this a little odd and wondering who is being set up here. Supposedly, some of the hacks of government agencies stem from the arrest of a few hackers in Europe. This is an attempt to make the hackers appear to be online versions of Hezbollah, as there are retaliatory attacks reported. You know, the way terrorists would do it.
It’s all possible, but I’m suspicious of the whole scene. These hackers, who are normally casual in their approach, are made to look like bomb throwing Trotskyites from the 1920s, each wielding a Molotov cocktail and out to overthrow the government.
This above mental image, of course, is for public benefit. By making any one of these hackers appear to be a horrendous threat to public safety, a number of initiatives can be rushed through Congress. All sorts of onerous laws will be passed, which probably will not affect the scene at all but will allow more government intrusion into the Internet. It will become illegal to sell any programming tools that can be used by a hacker, despite the usefulness of these tools to security experts. It will also become a felony to attempt to deconstruct a password or enter a system for whatever reason.
I have predicted for years that at some point people are going to have to be registered and licensed to use the Internet at all. You can see it coming as clear as day. These hackers, of course, have to be stopped, and this is how they’ll do it.
There are events in history known as false flag events. These are staged by a government usually to distress the public, so the government can do something that the public would otherwise disapprove.
Take it as a given that governments and corporations have a vested interest in surveilling the population and subtly swaying it’s opinions. Also accept that they sacrifice a considerable percentage of their profits to further those interests. Also interesting here, it was the dreaded hackers, the new terrorist threat, who brought this information to light.
After having spent several months studying those emails and otherwise investigating the industry depicted therein, I have revealed my summary of a classified US intelligence programme known as Romas/COIN, as well as its upcoming replacement, known as Odyssey. The programme appears to allow for the large-scale monitoring of social networks by way of such things as natural language processing, semantic analysis, latent semantic indexing and IT intrusion. At the same time, it also entails the dissemination of some unknown degree of information to a given population through a variety of means – without any hint that the actual source is US intelligence. Scattered discussions of Arab translation services may indicate that the programme targets the Middle East.
Markus Kayser – Sun Cutter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.
This is what democracy looks like.
Industrial designer and tinkerer Markus Kayser spent the better part of a year building and experimenting with two fantastic devices that harness the sun’s power in some of the world’s harshest climates. The first he calls a Sun Cutter, a low-tech light cutter that uses a large ball lens to focus the sun’s rays onto a surface that’s moved by a cam-guided system. As the surface moves under the magnified light it cuts 2D components like a laser. The project was tested for the first time in August 2010 in the Egyptian desert and Kayser used thin plywood to create the parts for a few pairs of pretty sweet shades. But he didn’t stop there.
Design is undergoing a revolution. Technology is empowering more people to create and disseminate designs, and professionals and enthusiasts are using it to share their work with the world. Open design is changing everything from furniture to how designers make a living.
Open Design Now: Why Design Cannot Remain Exclusive surveys this emerging field for the first time. Insiders including John Thackara, Droog Design’s Renny Ramakers and Bre Pettis look at what’s driving open design and where it’s going. They examine new business models and issues of copyright, sustainability and social critique. Case studies show how projects ranging from the RepRap self-replicating 3D-printer to $50 prosthetic legs are changing the world.
via: Ars Technica
Why did the hackers at Lulz Security (“LulzSec”) invade Sony Pictures websites, take down cia.gov, and release 60,000+ e-mail addresses and passwords? For the lulz, of course—but what might look lulzy to one person could certainly enrage another. In honor of its 1,000th tweet, the witty wankers of LulzSec released a manifesto of sorts, defending their actions to the angry Internets.
Sure, they’re in it for the lulz, but they claim that their behavior is also in the public interest. What—don’t most public servants end their dispatches with “Thank you, bitches”?
via: Ars Technica
In a sure sign that the virtual currency Bitcoin has hit the mainstream, a new Trojan horse program discovered in the wild Thursday seeks out and steals victims’ Bitcoin wallets, the same way other malware goes for their banking passwords or credit card numbers.
You know those posters that show Obama painted up like the Joker from the last Batman movie? Those are incredibly dumb. For a lot of reasons, but mostly because what makes the Joker an interesting character in The Dark Knight is that he’s an agent of chaos. He is not concerned with money or power or prestige he just wants to destroy order, create mayhem, and expose the roiling, selfish mayhem that he thinks lurks within us all. Obama is a politician, and anyone who looks at his policies see a trend of increasing order and control, centralizing power and pacifying the masses. The Joker is in it for the lulz and doesn’t give a fuck about anything. Which seems similar to Lulzsec.
I wouldn’t call them nihilists, they’re just dicks who like breaking things and embarrassing people without troubling themselves with any political or social agenda. And they’re pretty good at what they do, so they’ve been able to create a pretty impressive amount of damage. Maybe they are a black op designed to raise cyber crime fears and justify restricting the Internet. There was recently a report that 1 in 4 hackers are working with law enforcement. I don’t think so, though. Their attacks are sometimes against “legitimate” targets, but a lot of them are against just silly targets like Eve Online. Their Twitter feed is often pretty amusing. Funnier than I think spooks and grunts could be. They really just seem like those amusing jerks we all knew in school who you generally tried to ignore and who did a lot of stuff that was just dumb, but every once in a while made a mean joke or a prank that you had to laugh at.
What does this have to do with civil resistance? They’re not like Anonymous who practices hacktivism. But they’re part of the new landscape, and they’re an important part of it. John Robb would call them superempowered individuals. They’re a small group with the power to wreak havoc on much larger organizations. Lulzsec will likely be brought down or disappear on its own eventually, but others will follow them.
Lulzsec attacks Infraguard
Who is lulzsec?
via: Secrecy News
The rise in national security secrecy in the first year of the Obama Administration was matched by a sharp increase in the financial costs of the classification system, according to a new report to the President.
The estimated costs of the national security classification system grew by 15% last year to reach $10.17 billion, according to the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). It was the first time that annual secrecy costs in government were reported to exceed $10 billion.
An additional $1.25 billion was incurred within industry to protect classified information, for a grand total of $11.42 in classification-related costs, also a new record high.
See Also: John Robb on The Secrecy Tax
Like the Pakistani gun market video, ignore the violent intentions here and just consider how exciting it is to see people working together, being inventive and learning new skills, repurposing old technology, etc. It’s like punk metal works.
Bryan Denton for The New York Times
MISURATA, Libya — When the bloody siege of this isolated city began, the rebels who rose against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s conventional army had almost no firearms. Many of them relied on hands, knives and stones.
Metalworkers mounted a rocket pod, usually fired from an aircraft, to a pickup truck. The rebels remain materially outmatched, but their fighting power has grown. More Photos »
Now they roam the streets as a paramilitary force built around hastily armored trucks that have been fitted with captured machine guns set on crude turrets and mounts.
The transformation, evident in an offensive late last month that chased many of Colonel Qaddafi’s forces from Misurata’s center to its outskirts, is in part the result of a hidden side of this lopsided ground war: a clandestine network of rebel workshops, where these makeshift weapons have been designed, assembled and pushed out.