The Month of the Hacker

Almost unnoticed — save for the front page headlines day after day — the month of June 2011 has turned into the “Month of the Hacker.”

Major cyber-attacks have been leveled at the Pentagon, CIA, Sony, PBS, CitiGroup, etcetera (hard to keep up, frankly) and, on Thursday, a major leak of sensitive Arizona police information exposed undercover agents, informants, ongoing investigations,  etc. to extreme jeopardy. Last night:

Posted at 05:49 PM ET, 06/24/2011
Electronic Arts Bioware server hacked
By Hayley Tsukayama
The Washington Post

Electronic Arts’ BioWare studio posted an Q&A answering questions about a cyber attack after sending customers e-mails detailing a hack on one of the company’s decade-old servers for forums supporting its online game, Neverwinter Nights.

The company said that information such as names, phone numbers, CD keys, usernames, encrypted passwords, e-mail and mailing addresses and birthdates may have been compromised, along with any other information gamers may have associated with their EA acounts….

No group has taken credit for the attack as of time of writing….

Quietly, the incidence of cyber-attacks and the increasing depth of the penetration into ever more consequential databases has risen to levels that ought to be cause for alarm. The U.S. Senate server was hacked recently.

Just an observation: after kind of paying attention all month, the obligatory media swarm will commence, and the “poster child” group, LulzSec, will be elevated to figurehead status*. There will be the obligatory round of arrests, trials and chest-thumping editorializing. We will demand Cyber Security.

[* The old figurehead, Anonymous, has become passé. This is a NEW group, of whom we will shortly be “soberly” discussing the leadership positions, as we’ve recently watched with “Al Qaeda” — as though we had adopted the faux-familiarity of talking about the hosts of “The View.” Seldom have so many meaningfully inveighed about so few, with so little knowledge of those few, unless one counts Congress.]

Interestingly, what the majority of these groups seem to be is a new thing: gangs of cyber-vigilantes, aiming their virtual “lynchings” at power structures they perceive to be worthy of their righteous wrath.

But, in whatever direction it turns, there is a new/old sort of crime in the world, and it’s not going to go away soon. We’re looking at the rise of the Cyber-John Dillinger. Not the literal person, but the Front Page construction that will continue to sell papers and power clicks for a long time to come.

I say “new/old” because …

This eerily parallels the Underground newspapers of  forty years ago:

August 8-14, 1969 Los Angeles Free Press

Even to the stated reasons for the release of sensitive information [emphasis added]:

Every week we plan on releasing more classified documents and embarassing personal details of military and law enforcement in an effort not just to reveal their racist and corrupt nature but to purposefully sabotage their efforts to terrorize communities fighting an unjust “war on drugs”.

Hackers of the world are uniting and taking direct action against our common oppressors – the government, corporations, police, and militaries of the world. See you again real soon! ;D

Note: I am not linking directly to the LulzSec website, but to Daily Tech, which has the link to the original “communiqué.”

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

A corner has been turned. Where it will lead no one can say.

By loosing the human mind on to the planetary grid, we’ve also inadvertently loosed the human id into the grid.


A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.

Bookmark and Share

About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.