Hacking Rhetoric


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Check your accounts

I just came across this in the news.  Just wanted to put the word out there.

 

http://www.kvue.com/news/234525541.html

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Hackee response

My hacking experience was kind of mixed since I accidently found out that Josh was going to be my hacker while telling Beck I hadn’t been hacked yet.  Even though my password was my high school mascot, I forgot that I never had my high school listed on my Facebook or Linkedin page.  So I apologize for that Josh for making it more difficult for you on this assignment than it should have been.  But at least I take comfort in knowing that even though I have a digital footprint, it’s smaller than the average person.  This is because I take my privacy a bit more seriously than most.  My preference is not to let everyone know about my information unless I know him or her first.  There isn’t exactly a solid reason that I have for this besides the fact that it is just my preference.

Once I gave Josh the name of my high school I was a bit unnerved.  He warned me that his hack was going to be subtle, which made me look at my blog in both nervousness and excitement on what he might do.  After a few times of checking though I simply just waited.  When he finally did confirm to me in class that he did hack me, I wanted to see what he did and sure enough he went for the one blog where we both worked on the same assignment. Quite honestly it was humorous and I wasn’t the least upset.  Maybe because the curtain of mystery was already lifted before he did anything.  In addition, because I’ve worked with Josh in the past and got to know him a bit better throughout the course of the semester I probably wasn’t threatened by him or his actions during this hacking assignment. 

 What he did mention in his artist statement is true, I didn’t realize that whatever photos you have on Facebook in the cover photo is public.  So when he told me he read through some pictures of a graduation, I went to search for it.  Looks like I missed something after all.  And it did slightly disturb me that I never knew it was public and caused me to review all my privacy settings.  So there was a residual effect of Josh’s hack.  Even though his hack I knew was friendly, it made me concerned that I could be vulnerable to a real hack by someone anonymous.  

Overall this assignment was a mixed experience, but a good one no doubt.  


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Artist’s statement for Sandbox Hack

My assigned hackee was devrubbo.  Personally I have not yet had a moment to speak to her on a personal basis or been able to work with her on any past assignments.  Thus, initially I thought I would have to jump through loops to find her password.  Luckily though, she left a very useful hint on the class blog about her high school name.  So I had to Google it in order to find out what it was, but during the process found out she was also from my hometown of Houston, TX.  Somehow this made hacking her a bit more personal since she became a lot more relatable to me.

When I finally did hack her, it felt as if I was violating the privacy of a friend, and to really mess with anything she had worked on really did feel wrong.  But at the same time it marked the first time I ever hacked anything or anyone and that too felt kind of exciting.  Especially if she too was online on her account at the same time, of course I couldn’t know if she was but to know at that moment I could do anything I wanted was in a sense, empowering.

When I first approached this assignment I absolutely had no idea what I would do to one of Devon’s blogs.  My overall aim was to be able to hack her blog but in a manner that would not be perceived as a troll or insulting.  While reading her blogs I ran across her blog where she talked about how Burger King was hacked on Twitter to report that they were just bought up to McDonalds.  Her hack for her artist statement was to make a poem reflecting it, she made the message of the hack her own, and I thought I would do the same to her blog.

For no specific reason in particular besides that I thought it would look cool I decided to translate what Devon wrote into binary.  Growing up the only thing I ever learned about computers is that they used binary and learned how to translate letters into the zero and one language.  Because every letter has a value in arranging 0’s and 1’s in a specific sequence, I figured I would be able to make Devon’s blog really long to where it would be able to take up a good portion of a blog page.  I copied Devon’s post exactly and saved it on a word document just in case something went wrong and then put it into a binary translator that I found on Google.  After translating it and posting it I was surprised at how long it looked.  To me, it looked very cool, something that I use to think of when I would watch hackers in movies with lines and lines of code.

I am very pleased with going about this route to change Devon’s blog into a different language form rather than manipulating anything about it.  Not only did I preserve her blog, but I copied exactly what she did, I took something and made it my own.  Upon completion I realized that this is hacking in its most basic definition, to take something and to change it.  In most cases we always think change is for a purpose, but this is strictly just to make it mine.  To be honest though after I logged out I was kind of relieved because it really did feel uncomfortable messing with other people’s work and leaving it under their name.  Maybe that’s why some crimes are done to people that are not associated with each other, a faceless victim can be much easier to do harm to than someone you do know.

This guilt that I felt was someone similar to an analysis paper I wrote about a former Lolsec member of Anonymous who hacked a representative of the Westboro Baptist Church on the radio.  Immediately the next day he felt regret because the amount of exposure his hacked received.  But then later when he was arrested he stated to a reporter that all the actions he ever did as a hacker he felt regret for.  At the time I thought maybe he was just saying that because he was trying to get sympathizers, after all he did express regret after being arrested and after speaking about his upbringing, but I can see where those experiences really just forced him to really think about it.  While hacking Devon, even though I wasn’t doing her any harm, brought excitement and a new rush, but afterwards after logging out of her blog I felt a bit guilty about it.   I’ve come to see that those hackers that hack for “the moment” or on their emotions can’t bring themselves to justify their hack.  I have come to believe that those that participate in that form of hacking will eventually find some guilt in doing so.  Maybe those that hack for a greater purpose, a cause, or a belief have an easier time hacking and then justifying to themselves why they did the things they do.


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Catch an Illegal Immigrant news presentation

After all this discussion about how information is presented I went on 3 separate news websites and viewed how they presented the YCT’s event.  Surprisingly, only KXAN had the group’s president make a comment, while FOX and KVUE weren’t able to get a hold of him.  All 3 however were able to get a lot of students to voice their opinion against the event.  I was surprised that FOX did that as well, airing the voices of those who were undocumented students since they are well known to be a station with really conservative values. 

Here are the 3 links if you guys want to check them out and post what you think.

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/24001288/conservative-students-stage-fake-immigrant-hunt

http://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/group-hosts-catch-illegal-immigrant-event-on-campus

http://www.kvue.com/news/UT-students-plan-protest-against-catch-an-illegal-immigrant-game-232438071.html


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Bitcoins?!

I never knew that there really was a currency that is solely internet based.  I ran across this article on Wired, where hackers have been able to steal bitcoins that were stored online.  I haven’t actually figured out how bitcoins work yet but in this article, they were stolen because the hackers were able to impersonate the account owners via their emails.  Afterwards they reset the password and got access.  The takeaway from this article: Don’t keep your online currency online.  Which is kind of ironic when you think about it.  

http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/11/inputs/


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Anonymous hacks a newspaper website in Singapore

I’ve noticed a growing trend in news articles where a hack from the group Anonymous would have an individual listed.  I thought things that were hacked by Anonymous were done in groups and there is not one person.  So is Anonymous’ philosophy changing or are there more individuals wanting to take credit for acts in the name of the group. 

In the latest hack, the hacker known as The Messiah took credit for the hack on behalf of Anonymous on Strait Times.

What do you guys think?  

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24768053


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China’s Edit Wars

Since in a few weeks we’ll be talking about Wikipedia, I though this article would be interesting to share with the class.  It’s a New York Times article talking about the constant revising that goes on in the Wikipedia pages about significant events in China’s history.  Some examples include the Tiananmen Square incident, particularly whether or not it was and should be considered a “massacre”.  Essentially, what this showed was how different people from different regions grew up with different perspectives of events in their education (a mainland Chinese student would learn from a different view than a Taiwanese student).  Since 2009, the “Edit War” has slowed down, and people are starting to make contributions to Wikipedia less on political thought.  

What makes this article interesting is the reminder that history is based on perception.  In another one of my classes we are looking at World War II history based on the views of the victors and the vanquished.  Particularly right at this moment how the US atomic bombings are seen as a necessity instead of as crime against humanity.  

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/28/technology/wikipedia-china-becomes-front-line-for-views-on-language-and-culture.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0


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Artist’s Statement

My original hacking summary was based on the 2011 Live Anonymous hack of the Westboro Baptist Church.  What I found so interesting about it was not how quickly a member of Anonymous hacked one of Westboro’s websites but why he did it.  Instead of hacking for a greater good as Anonymous typically claims itself to do, this hack seemed petty in nature because the hactivist was losing his patience with the Westboro representative.

So what I decided to do was copy Josh’s project, because it’s much better than mine.

Here is a link to Josh’s project:

https://www.cs.utexas.edu/~joshuab/hack4.html