Hacktivism: The End Result Versus the End Goal

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Rafal Los

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Unless your cave doesn't get the news and you're not talking to anyone in security you've seen the barrage of "anti-security" sentiment and hacking over the past several months. 

It's now slowing down, but rather ramping up, but if experience teaches us anything these folks are about to hold the final nail in the coffin of Internet freedom as it's driven in by "the government" bodies they fear.

Indulge my tinfoil hat thinking for a moment but aren't those that are pushing the hacktivism agenda right now shoving society on the Internet faster and further down the spiral?  Am I thinking about this all wrong?  Let's take emotion and sentiment out of it for just a few paragraphs and analyze rationally.

First, there is the perceived injustices that are being brought to bear globally.  I won't take a position on that here, as that's not the point of this blog, but no matter what you believe the truth is always somewhere in the gray area between the extremes. 

Now, there are two camps virtually at war here... those that have power (perceived or otherwise) and those who at least publicly want to destroy that power.  It doesn't take a genius to realize that those that have power will wield it to keep it, or extend it as they see fit - when provoked.  This leads me to my next point.

While there are reasonable measures that can be taken against perceived injustices - declaring all-out war on the establishment and all parties associated with protecting "it" (this includes everyone in Information Security, apparently) is simply not the way of going about making a positive change. 

Hacking your way into every possible crevice, causing wide swaths of collateral damage, and wreaking general havoc while laughing it off accomplishes exactly the opposite of what the initial goal is... or was. 

Rather than putting the group performing the injustice on the public defensive, the hacktivist camp is giving those parties a chance to go on the offensive with the ability to rally the public and the general information security community around them.  This now causes deeper problems.

Here's the thing folks - all the reckless hacking does is encourage more monitoring of everyone's activity, more ability to prosecute and detain without due cause, more search & seizure legislation... in short it's slowly taking away any freedoms the Internet has left.  So how's that hacktivism working out?

Think before you hack - there is more at stake than your petty scuffles.

Happy New Year friends... may you have more freedom, more creativity, and more capability in 2012 and beyond.  As they say back home - "To health, wealth, and your wildest dreams coming true!"

Cross-posted from Following the White Rabbit

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