"But there’s an important truth about politics and law: even if you don’t take an interest in them, it doesn’t follow that they won’t take an interest in you.
So we can design clever, decentralised systems such as BitTorrent all day long, systems that appear to have no convenient entity to sue or arrest or legislate against. But if our inventions rattle enough cages and threaten enough bottom lines, the law will come hunting for them. The law will seek out arbitrary victims – think of how Sopa set out to prohibit hardening DNS against fraud and phishing because it would be convenient to use fake DNS entries to stop people from reaching The Pirate Bay. When it does, technology can’t save them. The only defence against a legal attack is the law. If you don’t have an organised body for someone else to sue, it means that there will be no organised body to mount a defence in court, either."
— Cory Doctorow on why it’s essential for those who care about technology to engage with the law, rather than just assuming that politics are either an obstacle to work around or a cesspit to avoid.
"While not exactly states, the player-created organizations are large and exert some serious control. They’re also grouped as “corporations” for the smaller ones, and “alliances” for the linkages between them. There’s real money at stake in the game: a player once ran an in-game bank and then left with everything, netting him about $170,000 in real money. In this world, then, it’s not surprising that less-than-honest means of striking at enemies have seen a renaissance."
— At my long-form blog, I examine what we can learn about covert action from how it’s modeled in games.
"The most recent bug, found in a wide range of high-definition TVs from Samsung, was disclosed on Thursday by Luigi Auriemma, an Italy-based researcher who regularly finds security flaws in Microsoft Windows, video games, and even the industrial-strength systems used to control dams, gas refineries, and other critical infrastructure. While poking around a Samsung D6000 model belonging to his brother, he inadvertently discovered a way to remotely send the TV into an endless restart mode that persists even after unplugging the device and turning it back on."
— TV-based botnets? DoS attacks on your fridge? More plausible than you think (via thumbing)
As everything goes online, cybersecurity becomes linked intimately to everyday life
"He refused to make what he called “a moral judgment” of the indicted hackers. “I’ll make a technical judgment,” he told me. “If they were that good, they wouldn’t have got caught."
— David Kushner, in his New Yorker profile of George Hotz, describing Hotz’ reaction to the FBI arrests of key Lulzsec members. (Incidentally, the human intelligence operation behind that bust was discussed in some depth over at Rethinking Security.)
This profile does a neat little trick. It describes a talented young hacker, whose earnest desire to understand and master the technology around him has led to science fair medals, congratulations for Wozniak, and lawsuits from Sony. In the process of describing this young man, the story twists to include a profile of the operational thinking of Anonymous.
Anonymous, by its very nature, is not a directed organization but instead a hive that occasionally moves as a swarm towards a target. Hotz became a cause for anonymous, not because he asked them to, but because they saw in his fight against Sony a symbol to use as a rallying cry. From there, they directed anger into hacks, first at Sony and then elsewhere, mostly like so many tiny monkey wrenches in a giant machine, but occasionally taking personal information of customers. (As an aside: taking down a website is the “tearing down a poster” of hacker attacks.) Here, then, is where not just the law (which had involved since Sony filed suit), but serious law enforcement got involved.
Hotz, as the hacker inadvertently at the center of one of the more significant cybercrimes & busts, weighs in only on the hackers’ technical expertise. Left not discussed is the lack of security utilized by hackers in real life, that most arrestable of arenas.