Hacking Rhetoric

Sandbox Hack: Artist’s Statement

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           I chose Blanche as hackee. I have never spoken to her and didn’t know very much about her, besides the fact that she has an interest in hacking. Gaining access to Blanche’s blog was difficult before the password hint on Halloween because I knew so little about her. I looked up her word press username and then started trying various passwords, starting with colors of the rainbow because I didn’t have to do research to try those. When that wasn’t successful I browsed through her twitter and Facebook to find out more about her such as her hometown, high school, likes and dislikes. Still, I had no such luck and later figured out this password when she posted a good hint. Luckily, I have a pretty secure password to all of my personal accounts but I know a lot of people aren’t as aware of password security and a hacker could very easily take a quick glance at your social networks and find out almost anything about you.

            On a different note, when I tried to change my word press password when the Sandbox hack was assigned, I had to try three different ones because my passwords were too simple and were denied. First, I tried my favorite color- orange and second, I tried my high school mascot, maverick. However, word press denied both of the password changes because they are popular across the Internet. I knew we agreed upon not using numbers so I eventually ended up choosing my hometown. I thought it was good that word press makes their users have secure passwords to avoid hacking and phishing.

            I started my hack by spamming the entirety of the class by leaving comments on their recent blog posts that linked back to my personal hacking rhetoric word press blog. I have been hacked on Facebook before because I clicked on a link or video that had been posted by a friend whose account was also compromised. The hacker was able to message a good majority of my Facebook friends by commenting on their status by saying something vague that could apply to virtually any blog post like I did here with “Awesome point you make here” and then presenting a link. When this is an actual hacker trying to spread something on the Internet, the link will likely just keep moving from person to person. When it is a friend or classmate commenting on your status, there seems to be more trust in the link and you don’t really think twice before clicking it. I figured this was a good way to start the hack because it can easily gain the class’ attention because of the notifications that get sent directly to everyone’s email address. It is so easy to pass along a bad link over the Internet so be careful what you are clicking and beware of hackers! Ironically enough, it happened to many of us over twitter earlier in the semester.

            Then I left I response on Blanche’s blog titled, “Blue Blog: Life –> Hacked, Beer –> Hacked” because I have really found an interest in the subject of life hacking and of course, what’s more awesome than a homemade beer recipe? I could relate to her blog because Blanche wrote about a life hack that displayed a better way to study for exams, which we could all benefit from, and a life hack as a way to wind down after a stressful week of exams. My argument for this response was simply to say that hacking can be for anyone- you just have to find your niche and what interests you.

            It was a pretty interesting experience to step inside the shoes of a hacker even if it was only for a few days. I still would never go out of my way to be malicious like some hackers do, which is why they are perceived with such a negative stereotype. Although this assignment was all in good fun and nobody is really performing a major high-tech hack, I can now relate more to hackers and see how they can get adrenaline rushes by hacking into other peoples information. It was also a good experience because I was able to learn more about Blanche, who I have not spoken to yet this semester.

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