Hacking Rhetoric

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Trip To Mexico




My father is a journalist for the Houston Chronicle. We lived in the valley because my father was the head of the Valley Bureau of the Houston Chronicle, which meant he was in charge of writing stories about the border and immigration and gang violence, etc. This also meant that he dealt with Mexico and its citizens a lot. This included interviews in poor villages in Chihuahua, trips to see whalewatchers, etc. One of his trips was to a secluded village on top of a mountain in Mexico, and he brought the whole family along and made it a vacation.

My memories aren’t all intact from that period of time, but some things are extremely vivid. I remember the 5 of us driving around in our Ford minivan through the Mexican jungle, and seeing some of the most beautiful scenery I’d ever witnessed. Harlingen and the Rio Grande Valley are relatively flat, but when you’re on a mountain road you can see for miles, through rainforests and rivers and valleys covered in mist. I remember my mother teaching me for the first time what a mother-in-law’s-tongue was, and then explaining to me why the idea of mother-in-law’s being evil was a culturally accepted norm. I also remember just how much wildlife there was, everywhere I looked. Monkeys and other furry animals and brightly colored birds like nothing I’d ever seen.

After a while of travelling I remember that we stayed in a fairly nice hotel in the mountains. The roof was made of tin and the windows were very large. The trees were all full of juicy mangos and papayas. The restaurant was amazing, but I can’t remember why. That night, there was a thunderstorm and the extreme winds were blowing all the papayas and mangos off the trees and onto the tin roof of our cottage. Every single fruit sounded like a gunshot on our roof, and I remember staying up very late either terrified or annoyed. My sisters and I jokingly named it “The Night of the Falling Mangos.” In the morning, the streets of the mountain town were littered with broken open fruits and there were monkeys everywhere eating them up. By the end of the day, the fruits had rotted and the whole town stunk to high heaven.

We ended our trip in the mountain village, and the only image that remains in my head is of the first seconds when we saw the place appear. It was just a little farming village, but it looked absolutely beautiful. The greenest grass, simple wooden structures, cows and llamas and goats. The rest of the trip is all a haze to me, besides my memories of the altitude making my throat hurt, and the brakes on the car almost dying because we had to go so far downhill so slowly and carefully. All in all it was an amazing trip, and it was the first time I ever fell in love with mountains. It’s too bad that Mexico is currently too dangerous to safely travel through, because there is some gorgeous scenery and some amazing places to see.




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Response to being hacked

Discovering that Damon was my hacker was a huge surprise to me. And after reading his response to performing the hack, I am honestly in disbelief of my carelessness. The day that the hack was assigned to us, I remember very clearly discussing with Damon the assignment and specifically how hard passwords should be. Now, looking back, I realize that he was playing me the entire time. He had used social engineering to convince me that we were having a normal conversation about the assignment, when in fact he was attempting to sneakily siphon  my password from me. He was extremely successful and I readily gave him all the information he needed to hack into my WordPress account without having to do a thing.

The hack itself did an excellent job of framing me as a black hat hacker. Damon took  some of the phrasing I used in my Day 1 post and reconfigured the entire post to give the impression that I am a black hat hacker. It’s very strange how even though the hack is obviously an assignment, the manipulation of something you’ve written creates very negative feelings of violation of privacy. Overall, Damon’s hack was a great success and I applaud him for hiss conniving ways.

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Got Hacked? Get used to it.

Hey all,
So, we’ve all been hacked. I’ve no doubt that this engendered feelings of insecurity or perhaps anger in some. The first time I was ever hacked, I experienced similar emotions. However, as a member of various segments of the hacker community, I have unearthed a simple truth: People get hacked, period. It doesn’t matter how carefully your password has been selected, nor how securely you’ve designed your systems; anything can be hacked. I’ve had a variety of systems under my control be hacked in various way throughout my life; sometimes a simple defacement of a website; sometimes a complete compromise of a critical server. Each time, I learned a little bit more about what it means to live in this wild west we call the Internet. Unfortunately, the Internet is a dangerous place — there are no police, no rules, and no accountability. While you may wish to have all your digital lives perfectly secure, it’s simply not how the Internet works. Chances are that you will be hacked many more times in your life — even if you never use a computer and live in the woods, someone may still steal your identity. Getting hacked is a fact of life, better to get used to it.
In addition, I found that my hacker made a reasonable argument under my assumed name. There was no slander, no trolling, and nothing unreasonable about the way in which my pilfered account was treated. When given complete control over the online identity of another (or at least a portion of it), most are not so kind. As we read in class, some have their entire digital lives destroyed by a hack. Others have their companies bankrupted, their identity stolen, or their credibility compromised. The hacks that we’ve all endured as a part of this course are rather tame — hopefully the experience has proven enlightening to some. I hope that you all will approach your digital lives with a bit more caution after having the experience of hacking someone else’s digital life first-hand. Hopefully we can all (myself included) learn something from this.

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Response to being Hacked

Once I was finally hacked I realized that this was a weird feeling. Someone had taken time to get to know me on some personal level to discover what my password was. They had to search me on the internet to find what high school I went to and the mascot of my high school at that. This is creepy in my opinion. Yet, I did the same thing to the person I hacked. In all it was an experience and we were just hacking our classmates. Since we just hacked our classmates this does not bother me, but, if I had been hacked by someone outside of our classroom I would be worried. Someone getting into my personal accounts is very concerning. On my word press account there is nothing that if hacked into would ruin my life but on my e-mail and social media accounts I could not imagine this happening to me. It would be horrible. The fact that finding someone’s password was so easy for this means that finding passwords for other accounts must be easy to and hackers must hack into other people’s accounts. 

All in all hacking into my classmates blog was a fun and great learning experience. This was something that made this hacking class real. Now I can say I have hacked someone else! 

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Hackee Response

Despite knowing a hack on my account was inevitable, I was still thoroughly surprised when it finally did arrive. Meagan orchestrated a spamming hack, which felt both very real and strange. On the blog posts of other classmates, Meagan utilized my account to leave comments that were, in essence, advertisements for her own blog posts.I felt very uneasy seeing my name used to write posts I had not endorsed. It was almost like having an evil twin or being a ghost– watching your posts but having no control over them whatsoever… I felt like I had really been hacked! It was awesome how Meagan used a format for her hack that was very different than the rest of the classes– It was totally unexpected and so similar to the spam bot hacks I see on twitter or facebook that it felt totally real. After my initial shock, I found it totally hilarious!

Meagan alerted me to the spambot hacks through an update to my own lifehacks post. Im glad she enjoyed the post! It was fun to experiment with beer. In Meagan’s hacker statement she mentioned the hacking assignment as a fun way to get to know someone better in class who you may not have gotten to know otherwise– and I feel this certainly goes the same for getting hacked as well! Live Oak HefeWeizen is my all time favorite beer too:)

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HackRhet 2.0

As promised, I’ve put together a quick survey asking you what changes you think would improve the course next semester. I have a bunch of ideas to try out next time around, but I’d value your input since you’re, well, part of the target audience. This survey is fast, optional and totally anonymous — but if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.


Again, thank you all for a wonderful semester. It has been a genuine pleasure working with all of you.

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Incredibox! Weekly Blog Entry

So I was surfing the web and a friend tossed me this link. It’s really cool, allow you to hack a bunch of different sounds to create a song. I just thought some of you might be interested, it’s like hacking music. Thought Beck want to check it out as something to possibly do in future semesters.

The website is: http://www.incredibox.com/v3

Here’s a song I threw together if you wanna see: http://www.incredibox.com/529EDF7CB10FC-V3

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Cyber Hacktivist

I saw this article posted on a cork board at Which Which.  It is about a man,Jeremy Hammond, who illegally accessed computers of law enforcement agencies in order to expose injustices by the private intelligence industry.  He joined Anonymous (big surprise) and believes that hacktivism is a form of civil disobediance and necessary in order to make room for change.  This is only part of the news article (the other half was not posted), but it got me thinking about breaking the law in the name of protest or to prove a point.  Would I ever risk jail time in order to make a statement for a particular cause? Truthfully, I probably wouldn’t because I value my freedom as a law abiding citizen too much, but I think it’s slightly admirable for someone to have a cause that they’re so passionate about, they are willing to do whatever it takes to support it.  Don’t get me wrong, I think Hammond’s intentions of causing bankruptcy and financial mahem are a bit dark and drastic, but I commend him for his passion.  I think as long as you don’t hurt other people, which Hammond was actually doing, you should be able to stand for what you believe in to bring about positive change. 


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Hack Responce

I had mixed feelings about the whole idea of being hacked by a classmate.  On one hand, I was excited to see how my post would be hacked and on the other hand, I was slightly nervous that the hacker would have trouble finding a post that was interesting enough for them to hack.  I’ve put a decent amount of work into my blog posts, so I really hoped that my hacker was able to read through them and feel like they had a lot to choose from.  I definitely didn’t feel invaded by the fact that someone was going to gain access to my account, I was more excited about how my post would be hacked.  I think that when you’re expecting to be hacked, you’re not as surprised or offended by the hack than if it were to happen to one of your accounts in real life.  This sandbox hack allowed me to be excited about the creative possibilities instead of scared of the consequences of the hack. 

I was hacked by Devon.  She hacked my post that compared Manning and Snowden by talking about their fashion choices and commenting on their clothing.  She talked about one of the biggest differences between the two whistleblowers was the fact that Manning wore a beret and Sowden didn’t.  She also commented on how Manning’s beret was the reason that he got a severe punishment and the reason he wasn’t able to be a refugee in Russia.  Devon ended my article with the phrase “Manning, on the other hand, seemed to have intense inner turmoil.  You probably would too if you had to wear a beret to work everyday too,” so it was pretty obvious that she took a stance against this particular type of hat.  In the post, I had a picture of Manning and Snowden side by side and Manning was wearing a beret, so Devon used this as inspiration for her hack.  I thought that Devon’s hack was hilarious and I was really impressed with how creative she was with it.  She was able to use my post to take a strong stance against berets.  It was a funny and added some sass to an otherwise pretty informative and dry post. 

I can understand how some hackers may unintentionally offend people while trying to be funny, but I feel as if Devon added comedy to my blog while still being respectful and maintaining the integrity of the post.  I really hoped that the person who hacked me would take a comedic approach because I wanted to be able to laugh at the changes to my blog.