Hacking Rhetoric

Artist’s Statement

1 Comment

I was assigned to hack Tim for our Sandbox hack. I did not really start until after halloween so I was given the hint that it was his high school mascot. I figured this would be simple considering that the information was supposed to be accessible. It turned out to be much harder than I first anticipated. Tim had a lockdown on most of his information. I knew once I found out the name of his high school it would be easy. I started with hos facebook which I succesfully found since I happened to know Tim’s full name since we had worked together in previous projects. Unfortunately I found nothing on there, or google plus, or linkedin, or anywhere. I even read the comments of a picture of his where he was surrounded by what I asumed were high school graduates, but still nothing. I was given a 2nd hint after being unable to find it. I was given the high school. I found a school website where the mascot was Vikings but didnt work. I was confused but after awhile I figured I had the wrong highschool. Sure enough, my 2nd try got me into his account. It was cougars!

Overall I think I am a failure at hacking. Well not really, just that Tim’s info is very secure which I suppose is a good thing. I took the wrong approach. I probably should have tried to social engineer the info from him.

After successfully infiltrating his account, I knew exactly what I wanted to change on Tim’s posts. I remembered due to a discussion we had that for the “Summary of a Hack / Hack of a Summary” project we had coincidentally chosen the same article to summarize and hack. This was the hack of the Westboro Baptist Church. I figured it would be clever to simply change the reference from his work, to that of my work, so that it seemed like he plagiarized me and was a bad student, whereas praising me and my stellar work. Unfortunately, I was unable to be as subtle as I planned to be due to the nature of his post. The way he hacked his summary was much different than mine. Instead, I had to explicitly mention how great I was and remove whole sections of his original post. This made it quite obvious that I hacked him, and therefore it lost much of it’s credibility as being originated from Tim. It lost much of it’s luster, but still got my point across. My argument was simply that my work is superior (although this probably is not true). I wanted to demean Tim’s value as a student, to boost mine. It’s not very often you see a student praising someone else’s work, so when they do it makes the work seem much better. It also brings it to a larger audience. It’s often said that to be the best, you simply have to better than everyone else you’re competing against. This is the approach I took.

It didn’t quite have the attended effect, but I still got a laugh out of it because I thought it was clever albeit explicit. I feel no remorse. I don’t quite feel like a hacker, because they knew it was coming, and they are not bothered by it. Tim did mention he was bothered by the fact that I was able to snoop around his photos and comments though. It felt awkward for me, so I guess I would not make a very good hacker. You definitely need to ignore social norms and be a bit creepy to be a succesful hacker, and clever. Very clever. When you are hacking it is very easy to make it obvious, being subtle is much harder. I can see the allure in being a hacker, but I can also tell it’s not something I would enjoy.

It was fun, but creepy.

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One thought on “Artist’s Statement

  1. Creepy indeed sir, creepy indeed. Good job never the less.

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