Hacking Rhetoric

Artist Statement for Sandbox Hack

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The person that I had the pleasure of hacking last week was Lauren (aka lightningki).  I have talked to Lauren many times throughout the semester and we even peer edited each other’s annotated bibliography assignments.  I was relieved to pick someone that I knew pretty well because I knew that she has a good sense of humor, so it took some of the pressure off when I was trying to figure out what to hack.  With that said I was still careful to not troll or demean any of her posts because I know that we all put a lot of work into our writing assignments and I wanted to maintain the integrity of her blog. As I was going through her blog, I noticed that she has a lot of very insightful posts and I was having a hard time picking just one to hack.  As I was skimming through her page, I saw the word “Curious George” in a post with a bright “NASA Hacked” image underneath it and I was sold.  I read through her post and the news article that accompanied it and found out that a 15-year old boy was somehow able to hack NASA and cause thousands of dollars of damage.  This was an extremely interesting article, but what was even more exciting was the fact that Lauren “hacked” this article by making a video and comparing the 15-year old to Curious George.  I thought that this was a hilarious and clever hack and it gave me so many options for my sandbox hack. 

 I decided to utilize the Hackasaurus X-Ray goggles in order to break down the components of the website and hack the original ABC news article.  This allowed me to change the website, so that it reported about Curious George hacking NASA instead of the 15-year old boy.  Lauren had already pointed out some similarities between the monkey and the teenage boy, so I was able to build off of her post and include elements of her comparison into the hack.  After I edited the article and the related article section of the website, I changed some of the wording of her post and added a picture to the post.  I changed the post because I wanted to attach the hacked article to the post and make sure that readers knew about what was going on in the hacked article and why Curious George was compared to a teenaged boy.   In her original post, Lauren also included a graphic about the NASA hack, so I decided to also create a graphic that could accompany the Curious George hack post.   I created a custom picture of Curious George riding a space rocket with the NASA logo on it and I thought that it added an extra visual element to the post.  Hacking the article, the post and the picture took me a couple of hours to complete, but I was definitely pleased with the end result.  I also really appreciated that Lauren texted me a few hours after I hacked and complimented me on the hack.  Getting her input on the hack meant a lot to me and made the whole experience even better. 

The main purpose of this hack was to add humor to an otherwise serious situation and shed some light on the differences between this hacker and most stereotypical hackers.  I chose this post in particular because I thought the original article was very interesting and funny and I thought that Lauren’s interpretation of the article was fascinating.  The ridiculousness of the situation in the original article along with Lauren’s monkey comparison made it easy for me to put a comedic twist on a news article.  I also really loved the idea of hacking a hack of a hacked summery.  The fact that this article had been summarized, hacked and then hacked again was really interesting to me because I got see how the article progressed throughout the process. 

In order to actually hack into Lauren’s account, I looked through her Facebook profile to find out more information about her and figure out the answer to one of the “security questions.”  I found out her high school’s mascot and knew her password before she even posted a hint on the blog.  It was actually pretty exciting to go through a Facebook profile with a mission at hand and find the information I needed.  It was also extremely exhilarating to successfully get into Lauren’s blog and have the ability to edit any of her posts.  This ability gave me an odd sense of power and allowed me to further understand the rush that other hackers may get after they successfully hack something.  I really enjoyed the fact that I got to use problem solving to figure out how to hack Lauren and then use creativity to change one of her blogs in a significant and meaningful way.  Being able to break someone else’s code is extremely rewarding and I completely understand why so many people have fallen in love with the art of hacking.


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