It's been a crackerjack year, hasn't it? Kids are being held in concentration camps, whole species are disappearing from the face of the earth, our weather is absolutely borked and drinkable water is fast disappearing in many locales around the world. Everything is terrible!
Except for when it isn't.
From The Globe & Mail:
An anonymous benefactor who secretly placed a $100 bill and an unabashed message of positivity in a Nova Scotia park has delighted and intrigued the town’s residents.
The bill was taped to a New Glasgow, N.S., gazebo in a Ziploc bag with a note encouraging the finder to spend the money on something that brings them happiness and to remember the good in the world.
It was found by town employee Doug Miller while setting up for a funding announcement over the weekend.
As detailed in a photo on the Globe & Mail's website, the note reads: To whoever finds this $100 bill -- it is yours! I hope it will bring you joy and that you will use it for your enjoyment. Always know that there is good in the world and joy to be found. I hope you know, or will learn, that you are priceless and worth more than any paper or plastic. I hope you will always choose to be happy.
A hundred bucks is a lot of cash, to most people. To others, it's a fart in a mist. No matter how you're situated for cash, I'm sure you'll agree that it's nice to occasionally run across a news story where nothing is on fire, spreading like the plague or about to die at the hands of the military industrial complex. Read the rest
Qanon is a person or group behind an unhinged right-wing conspiracy theory that is really too stupid to elucidate (you can listen to this Reply All if you're really interested); it's a kind of trumpian Pizzagate successor that includes great, unhealthy lashings of secret Democratic pedophile rings (because far-right assholes are more worried about imaginary children in nonexistent pizzeria basements than they are actual children in ICE cages).
Read the rest
Dale Beran's been writing about 4chan, /b/ and Anonymous for years, and lurking on their message-boards, and he traces the rise of the self-professed "betas" who embody fragile, toxic masculinity and have been important bellwethers for many internet and real-world phenomena, linking them to Trump as "the loser who won": "Someone who is all brash confidence and then outrageously incompetent at everything he does." Read the rest
The Anonymous activists behind "OpKKK" -- which infiltrated and unmasked Klan members, including many in US military and police departments -- began by creating thin-but-plausible fake identities on Facebook that signalled support for "Blue Lives Matter." By friending other accounts that indicated support for Blue Lives Matter, they found themselves being auto-suggested friendships with KKK members. Read the rest
Doubtless you've laughed at the ideological war between the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea
. I laughed along with you: having grown up in politics, I know firsthand about the enmities that fester between groups that should be allies -- groups whose differences can only be parsed after months of study, but who are seemingly more at odds with one another than their obvious political opponents on the "other side" of the debate.
Opponents of Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa -- himself a prolific and shrewd social media campaigner -- have had their social media accounts hacked and used to dump embarrassing transcripts purporting to show their party in disarray and romantic scandals in their personal lives. Read the rest
J.Nathan Matias takes a clear-eyed look at The Real Name Fallacy, the belief that forcing users to communicate using real names will improve online conduct. In my experience, the biggest problems come on platforms like Twitter where it's a mix of real and pseudonymous users. Read the rest
Gabriella Coleman is the "hacker anthropologist" whose book on the anthropology of Anonymous is among the best books on hacking I've ever read; her new paper in Current Anthropology, From Internet Farming to Weapons of the Geek, poses a fascinating question: given that hackers are as well-paid and privileged as doctors, lawyers and academics, how come hackers are so much more political than other members of the professional elites? Read the rest
Meme factory/Anonymous birthplace/alt-right breeding ground 4chan is facing challenges similar to those plaguing all ad-supported sites, but as with all things channish, 4chan's problems have their own unique and grotesque wrinkles. Read the rest
Anonymous Analytics describes itself as "a faction of Anonymous" that uses its "unique skills to expose fraud and corruption among public companies." Read the rest
In late March, the Philippine Commission on Elections website was defaced in an Anonymous op, and a few days later, Lulzsec Pilipinas dumped its voter database. At the time, the Commission claimed that no sensitive information was exposed in the breach, but that is clearly not the case. Read the rest
In 2013, a hacktivist group calling itself Konstant kOS raided one of the government’s most secure computer networks. Their target was a list of more than a million American citizens monitored as potential terrorist threats. The list was classified because it was feared that making it public could result in widespread violence.
Konstant kOS, on other hand, believed information needed to be free. They thought citizens should know about potential terrorists amongst them. Also, they thought stealing and publishing the list would be fun.
Marcus Sakey's Written in Fire is available from Amazon.
So they did. As a result, thousands of innocents were assaulted or even murdered.
This didn’t happen, of course; it’s a small detail in my novel Written in Fire, the final book in the Brilliance Trilogy. The premise of the series is that since 1980, 1% of people have been born with extraordinary gifts, essentially a form of savantism that lets them see patterns the rest of us can’t. Some spot rhythms in the stock market and amass vast fortunes; others read body language so minutely they can intuit your thoughts and fears. The stolen data was a nearly complete list of these “brilliants.”
While Konstant kOS is my invention, they’re obviously based on hacker collectives like Anonymous, which fascinate me. Shadowy organizations of rogue anarchists waging private wars resulting in everything from surreal silliness to rough justice to reprehensible and mistargeted damage? Tell me more.
At this point, I should say that while I’m tech-savvy, by the standards of this fine publication, I’m at best a journeyman. Read the rest
Martin Gottesfeld and his family were rescued at sea, near Cuba, by a Disney cruise ship, then Gottesfeld was arrested by FBI agents dispatched from a Bahamian field office. Read the rest
Documents published by Vice News: Motherboard and further reporting by Wired News suggest that a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University who canceled their scheduled 2015 BlackHat talk identified Tor hidden servers and visitors, and turned that data over to the FBI.
No matter who the researchers and which institution, it sounds like a serious ethical breach.
First, from VICE, a report which didn't name CMU but revealed that a U.S. University helped the FBI bust Silk Road 2, and suspects in child pornography cases:
An academic institution has been providing information to the FBI that led to the identification of criminal suspects on the dark web, according to court documents reviewed by Motherboard. Those suspects include a staff member of the now-defunct Silk Road 2.0 drug marketplace, and a man charged with possession of child pornography.
It raises questions about the role that academics are playing in the continued crackdown on dark web crime, as well as the fairness of the trials of each suspect, as crucial discovery evidence has allegedly been withheld from both defendants.
Here's a screenshot of the relevant portion of one of the court Documents that Motherboard/Vice News published:
Later today, a followup from Wired about discussion that points the finger directly at CMU:
Read the rest
The Tor Project on Wednesday afternoon sent WIRED a statement from its director Roger Dingledine directly accusing Carnegie Mellon of providing its Tor-breaking research in secret to the FBI in exchange for a payment of “at least $1 million.” And while Carnegie Mellon’s attack had been rumored to have been used in takedowns of dark web drug markets that used Tor’s “hidden service” features to obscure their servers and administrators, Dingledine writes that the researchers’ dragnet was larger, affecting innocent users, too.
Meet the Anonycop!
A former Philadelphia police captain, Ray Lewis, joined the Million Mask March Thursday in Washington D.C. Donning the Anonymous mask, Lewis participated in the march from beginning to end. Speaking to the crowd before the march began, Lewis says that his position as a former cop makes him uniquely qualified to spread Anonymous's message to mainstream America.
Lewis has participated in several other activist causes, including Occupy Wall Street and the protests in Ferguson over the death of Freddie Gray.
News2Share has released several videos and photos from yesterday's "Million Mask March" in Washington D.C.
Protestors breaking a window at the EPA headquarters:
Anonymous fighting with security and police at Monsanto HQ:
Anonymous activists pausing march to give food and money to homeless man:
Highlight reel of clashes with police:
Article including full photo gallery Read the rest
A jury in Sacramento, California, today found former Reuters deputy social media editor Matthew Keys guilty of computer hacking under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (CFAA).
Read the rest
He's already served more than two years in prison on charges related to sources within the Anonymous hacktivist entity.