How long before Paul Carr (author of The Upgrade, coming soon from disinformation) finds his online identity is no longer his own? He takes on Lulzsec in this article for the Guardian, which has been modified after complaints about his original choice of words:
If one is to believe the media coverage – particularly here in the US‚ no one is safe from the ingenious hackers and their devilishly complex attacks. The truth is, there’s almost nothing ingenious about what LulzSec is doing: CIA and Soca were not “hacked” in any meaningful sense, rather their public websites were brought down by an avalanche of traffic – a so-called “distributed denial-of-service” (DDoS) attack. Given enough internet-enabled typewriters, a monkey could launch a DDoS attack – except that mentally subnormal monkeys have better things to do with their time.
Even the genuine hacks are barely worthy of the word. Many large organisations use databases with known security holes that can easily be exploited by anyone who has recently completed the first year of a computer science degree: it’s no coincidence that so many of these hacker collectives appear towards the end of the academic year.
Still, what LulzSec might lack in technical prowess, it certainly makes up for in its ability to grab attention. Hackers have always boasted of their work – leaving messages on their victims’ servers, posting proof of their exploits on bulletin boards‚ so in a world where every criminal and his dog has a YouTube channel and a Facebook fan-page it’s hardly surprising that LulzSec is obsessed with online publicity. The group has been particularly smart in their use of Twitter: in less than two months it has amassed over 240,000 followers which, amusingly, means it can launch a DDoS attack simply by tweeting the web address of its next target and waiting for the tsunami of clicks to have the desired effect.
Given the group’s modus operandi – boasting on social networks, sticking it to the man – it was entirely unshocking when, on Tuesday morning, the police arrested their first suspect: a teenager who, according to his mum, suffers from agoraphobia and “lives his life online”. Ryan Cleary may, of course, be found completely innocent but when the group’s leaders are rounded up it’s a fairly safe bet that none of them will turn out to be attractive, outgoing 30-year-old women…
[continues in the Guardian]