Why you should be afraid of the dark

In my previous post, I reflected on the benefits of well-executed acts of ‘hactivism’ and whistle blowers who act in the public interest. I also touched upon why it is important that new legislation is created to protect these groups or individuals that risk their own freedom to uncover injustices. The most salient point of this week’s topic is that when good exists, bad is just around the corner to restore balance. I’m talking about the dark-side of hacking. The side that exists not in the benefit of others but conversely, for whatever motivation, can be of serious detriment to masses of individuals. Think malware, credit card fraud and on much larger scales, things like political espionage.

Sure, for the objective audience, it’s pretty amusing and there’s something about the ‘underdog giving it to the man’ mentality that keeps most incidences feeling light. This doesn’t change the fact that hacking for the purpose of stealing, fraud, humiliation or monetary gain is acting in opposition of the message ‘hactivists’ are trying to communicate. It somewhat justifies the use of hacking by government agencies and companies like Google because, well, they can.

“Their intention, the court heard after some members were arrested, was just to gain attention, embarrass website owners and ridicule security measures. But by putting private information – including credit card details – online, the group caused problems that cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to fix. LulzSec’s response was that sites that were so insecure they could be hacked in this way were a risk to the sites’ customers.” (Arthur 2013) I just can’t wrap my head around why. Superiority complex? Power trip?

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Arthur, C. (2013) ‘LulzSec: what they did, who they were and how they were caught’, The Guardian, 17 May, http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/may/16/lulzsec-hacking-fbi-jail


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