Category Archives: lesson 11 task

Changing the World, One Hack at a Time

This week’s lesson went a little differently, instead of reading multiple articles we got to also watch a video! Yayy!

The BBC documentary goes over the origins of hacking, and the hacker group Anonymous.

I’m sure you’ve heard of them, but how well do you really know them?

Anonymous originated from a website known as 4chan. If you go on this website it looks like we did a #tbt to the 90’s. Anyway, back to the main point, Anonymous is famous throughout the world for their hacking. The video describes the history of Anonymous, and also interviews current members.

From the video I found a couple of things shocking. One of them was the Internet’s ability to bring people together. This was shown through their protests, not through their computers, but in real life.

Again, the Internet is a powerful tool.

It showed that the group was not only comprised of immature teenage boys, but of all kinds of people.

Another thing that I found surprising Anonymous’s ability in general. In Egypt they were able to bypass the overpowering regime and provide means of communication for the people. Not only that, they were educating people on how to do it themselves, and even added medical information on tear gas, and how to make tear gas masks in the pdfs they sent out.

So far they don’t sound too bad right?

Well, there are some actions by Anonymous that are praiseworthy, there are also others that make me question the values and ethics of the group.

For example this recent article regarding the possible release of a sex tape demonstrates an invasion of privacy. The film also gives more examples of things the group has done the is questionable, so go take a look at the video.

Now that you’ve watched the video, what’s your take on Anonymous? Tell me in the comments, and I’ll see you next time!

Phreaking, Hacking, and Trolling

So this week we are reading Gabriella Coleman’s article “Phreaks, Hackers, and Trolls: The Politics of Transgression and Spectacle.”

Most of us have never heard of phreaks before (I had no clue what it was when I began reading the article). They’re basically the early versions of hackers. Wayyy back in the 1960s (I know that’s a long time) they modified phone frequencies to do not only make phone calls free, but to also gain information (they pretended to be scary information collecting companies and tricked people into giving out their social security numbers, credit card numbers, you know, the good stuff.)

I know what you’re thinking, those kind of phones actually existed before? Yes, they did.

 

More computer enthusiasts joined the phreaking movement, which later lead to hacking. Hackers are people who manipulate and modify computer networks to gain unauthorized access to data. In current news we see hacker groups take on governments and corporations. Sometimes they do this to highlight the security holes in a software, other times they do it to prove a point. Hacking can include a variety of things, such as simply stealing a password, or something as complex as taking control over a computer network.

This picture makes it seem as if hackers are criminals, but are they really? Well, it all depends on the context I think. If a hackers is able to get take control of a terrorist group’s social media accounts I think it’s a good thing. However, if a hacker decides to release nude pictures (like what happened recently with many celebrities, such as Jennifer Lawrence) then I think it is an invasion of privacy, and is totally wrong.

Here is a totally stereotypical idea of an Internet troll

Next, the article goes on about trolling. I believe that griefing is related to trolling (we’ve already covered this before, hopefully you still remember it). It is the intentional disturbance caused to get a reaction/response. You see this everywhere on the Internet, online games, Youtube, Twitter, etc. Most of the time I it doesn’t bothers me, however, others can take it more personally than I do. So do they really cause harm, or are they mere tricksters? Coleman ends the article by asking a similar question. Again, I  believe that it depends on the context.

So what do you think? Are trollers just tricksters? What are your thoughts on hackers, and phreakers (although there might not be anymore phreakers today)?

Let me know in your comments, and I’ll see you in my next post!