Monday, December 13, 2010

Romancing of the Idenity?

I quick update on the whole Wikileaks flap from Raw Story:

"During the civil rights era, the sit-in became a popular and effective form of protest against businesses that denied service to black people. Though legally ambiguous at first, the harsh reactions of authorities against the peaceful protesters ultimately won over public opinion.

"Something similar is happening today on the Internet.

"A wave of distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) in the past weeks knocked the world's two largest credit card providers and the web's largest payment processor offline, stopped business as a Swiss bank and crashed servers for Swedish prosecutors. It was all done allegedly in response to the censorship of secrets outlet WikiLeaks, in an effort dubbed 'Operation Payback.'"
The illusion here to the protests of the 60s is interesting, especially as I've chronicled before here, here, and here, as well as on our YouTube videos on the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, that the 60s protests largely fueled the fires of the police state that began to emerge in the early 70s and went into hyper drive in the 1980s. California, ground zero of the 60s protests, also brought to power the man who was instrumental in implementing the police state at both the local and federal levels: Ronald Reagen.

Anyway, the really interesting part of this article comes a bit later:

"Using a piece of old server stress-testing software called "Low Orbit Ion Cannon" (or "LOIC," a name taken from PC strategy game Command and Conquer), protest participants point their Internet connections at a server and begin sending requests. If enough people join in, the servers can ultimately be overwhelmed by traffic, resulting in a denial of service to other users.

"For businesses like PayPal or Amazon, which exist primarily online, this can be costly and even lethal -- but the protest is not exactly a crime. Not yet, anyway. It's not exactly "anonymous," either.

"Researchers in the Netherlands, at the University of Twente, found that using the LOIC exposed users to being identified unless traffic was routed through anonymous relay software, like Tor.

"'[Attacks] generated by this tool are relatively simple and unveil the identity of the attacker,' they wrote. 'If hacktivists use this tool directly from their own machines, instead of via anonymization networks such as Tor, the Internet address of the attacker is included in every Internet message being transmitted.'"
I've used Tor before myself and I wasn't especially impressed with its ability to cloak my identity. Needless to say, I doubt the Cryptocracy will have much trouble identifying the individuals taking part in hacktivism.

I also doubt that many arrests will be forth coming. If anything, this is looking like a shock test to gauge the public response as well as identifying and profiling individuals that could potentially be rallied to some kind of cyber revolt.

An interesting question becomes, to what purpose this information will be put toward? I doubt it will have much to do with public safety, though that will probably be worked heavily into the sells pitch.  

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