I’ve been incredibly busy these past six weeks or so since my last entry.
I moved in early May to a new apartment much closer to work. I covered that mostly in my last entry. The new job is going fantastically; I’m really enjoying it. I’m building some professional relationships which I’m sure will last a lifetime.
I’ve gotten more into stock trading, too. I’m currently sitting at almost 100% all-time gain, with my flagship stock, SPNG, sitting at nearly 200% gain across all positions (one position is at 1200%!).
In mid-May, BigVPS, my VPS provider, had a five day outtage after some serious problems occurred after a datacenter migration. I didn’t lose anything but a little hair in the mess, though. During the fray, however, I signed up for a VPS with FSCKvps, a VAserv company. Just a few days ago, VAserv was hit by a massive outtage with data loss after a serious bug in HyperVM, the VPS management software the company uses, was exposed. My server was unaffected, but there are others who have lost everything.
The whole incident taught me a lesson which I have yet to act upon. I need to be more vigilant in my backup policies.
Also, Sean and I decided to pull down BIOS LEVEL for a few months while we overhaul it. We’d not posted a review since early April. It really, really sucks that we had to do that. Our current CMS is heavily integrated with phpBB 2, something which greatly affects the efficiency of the engine. Spam bots overran the forums and our traffic had dropped to a trickle. We’re going to update the look and feel and upgrade to phpBB 3, and hopefully unveil a new technology which will enable tech review sites to lessen each others’ burdens of posting affiliate news greatly.
The weekend of May 30, I saw a good friend of mine, news anchor Kathryn Larson, get married in Lockport, NY. Brigette and I toured the area and Buffalo, and enjoyed dinner at Mamma Mia’s in Clifton Hill, Ontario, just across the border.
Last night, I saw Street Sweeper Social Club, Nine Inch Nails, and Jane’s Addiction. I’ve got pictures up on Facebook and may soon post them on Picasa. I took a few videos; check YouTube, as they are still uploading as I write this.
I had planned to write several entries, but all had been derailed by other projects.
One was going to be on “sexting” and how the media—mostly CNN—was blowing it out of proportion and how state laws need to be updated to ensure that the real criminals—pedophiles—are being caught, convicted, and put away, not harmless teenagers exploring their new-found sexuality.
Another was going to be about Intranet SEO, but that may or may not end up on Vivisimo’s Search Done Right blog. If it’s not posted there, I may request permission to post it here.
In order to get in on the contest, post at the BIOS_LEVEL forums thread. To get another two entries, give us a linkback with the text BIOS_LEVEL or Linux advocacy.
I know some people like pre-made linkback text, so it’s at the bottom of the post. Remember that you still must post in the forums in order to enter. If your linkback is on a protected page (MySpace/Facebook, etc.), post a screenshot!
BIOS_LEVEL, a Linux advocacy and computer review web site, is giving away a few Crucial Memory T-shirts in its first contest! To enter, post in the contest thread. You can get two additional entries if you linkback from your blog, site, or social networking profile with "BIOS_LEVEL" or "Linux advocacy" as the anchor text! Go post now!
<a href="http://www.bioslevel.com">BIOS_LEVEL</a>, a <a href="http://www.bioslevel.com">Linux advocacy</a> and <a href="http://www.bioslevel.com">computer review</a> web site, is giving away a few Crucial Memory T-shirts in its first contest! To enter, post in the <a href="http://bioslevel.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=261">contest thread</a>. You can get <em>two additional entries</em> if you linkback from your blog, site, or social networking profile with "BIOS_LEVEL" or "Linux advocacy" as the anchor text! Go post now!
I’d like to read his sources of information, i.e. proof of parts of claims, but it seems to make sense. Notably, though, is the lack of media coverage of the incident. If this really was a big deal, wouldn’t more major news outlets be investigating it? Wouldn’t even the underground news services be reporting on it more?
We could quite possibly be in for a very interesting couple of weeks.
This incredibly sensational, alarmist, and FUD-spreading report focuses on a group of people called “Anonymous,” a very common term which the reporter seems to have confused with the common usage of anonymous on the web: a user who posts without logging in. Slashdot calls them Anonymous Cowards (thus the headline on the Slashdot article “AC = Domestic Terrorists?”). Major Internet image forum 4chan is featured multiple times throughout the report, and its not-logged-in users post as Anonymous.
Here’s the video. A painstakingly-taken transcript follows.
They call themselves “Anonymous.” They are “hackers” on steroids, treating the Web like a real life video game: sacking web sites, invading MySpace accounts, disrupting innocent peoples’ lives. And if you fight back, watch out. Phil Shuman tracks down these “hacker” gangs in this FOX 11 Investigates.
REPORTER (Words appear on screen)
Destroy. Die. Attack. Threats from a gang of computer hackers calling themselves “Anonymous.”
MYSPACE KID (on screen)
I’ve had seven different passwords and they’ve got ‘em all so far.
REPORTER (showing Anonymous Motivator-style image)
They attack innocent people like an Internet hate machine.
BLACKED-OUT MAN (“Anonymous Credo” on screen, masked voice)
We are anonymous. We are strong. We do not forget, we do not forgive.
Those who fight back face death threats.
VOICE MAIL (showing phone, masked voice)
I’m gonna f***ing slit his throat.
REPORTER (showing stadiums)
Anonymous has even threatened to bomb sports stadiums.
BLACKED-OUT WOMAN (showing van exploding as demonstration)
I believe they are domestic terrorists.
REPORTER (montage of screen captures from image board sites)
Their name comes from their secret web sites. It requires anyone posting on the site to remain anonymous. MySpace users are among their favorite targets. People live David.
MYSPACE KID (David)
…The next thing I knew, I had a bunch of naked guys on my profile.
REPORTER (showing montage of homosexual erotica)
Anonymous hacked his site and plastered it with gay sex pictures. His girlfriend left him.
She thought that I was cheating on her with guys.
They crashed his computer with a virus and used his own email to infect everyone on his friends list.
I have 90 friends and it killed 32 of my friends’ computers.
Now David was apparently just a random victim. We found his MySpace password on an underground hacker site linked to “Anonymous.” There were literally thousands of stolen passwords on that site, and victims are left wondering, “Why is all this happening to me?”
[They] will tell you, “We want to wreak chaos, disorder, and ruin peoples’ lives.”
REPORTER (showing random pics from forums)
This hacker, who wants us to hide his identity, spent months checking out sites linked to Anonymous.
They get laughs. They enjoy doing this. They get what they call “lulz.”
REPORTER (letters on screen with image board in background, then showing screenshots from Habbo Hotel with swastika and then an animated image of Hitler)
“LULZ” is a corruption of L O L, which stands for laugh out loud. Anonymous gets big “lulz” from pulling random pranks. For example, messing with online childrens’ games like Habbo Hotel. The pranks are often anti-semetic or racist and always posted on the Internet.
(showing an image board’s /i/ Invasion board, then a thread marked HARRY POTTER SPOILER ATTACK)
But truely epic “lulz” come from raids and invasions, branded on the Anonymous web sites with an “i”. Like their nationwide campaign to spoil the new Harry Potter book ending.
LOUDSPEAKER IN SHOPPING CENTER (British accent)
Attention shoppers! Voldemort kills ****!
Their most notorious stunt? A bomb threat seven football stadiums which drew national media attention [Seattle, Oakland, Houston, Atlanta, Cleveland, Miama, New York].
OTHER REPORTER VOICE (van explosion footage)
The claim is that the vans would be detonated in the stadiums.
One man was arrested last year after posting the threat now thought to be a hoax, he’s pleaded not-guilty and awaits trial. This hacker finally got fed up.
I decided to either shut them down or stop them or simply prevent as many raids as possible.
Anonymous branded him as a “lulz killer,” accusing him of ruining their fun.
They said they would rape me, they would kill me.
This mother also said she is fighting Anonymous. Her whole family’s been under attack.
They posted pictures of all of us.
Anonymous also posted their home address and phone numbers.
Pretty much said, “You’ve got the information now. [tr. note: visible cut here] Do what you need to do. Go. Go. Go.”
Death threats started pouring in.
VOICE MAIL (masked voice)
You kid’s a f***ing Emo bitch and I’m gonna f***ing slit his throat!
Your heart is breaking. You need to keep your family safe.
She installed electronic security, a phone tracing system, and bought a dog. Then she started tracking down Anonymous members and called in the FBI, but fears they won’t act until it’s too late.
They’d only do something about it if one of us ended up dead. Probably.
Some of the victims told us they just hope Anonymous will get bored and forget about them. But insiders say, “Don’t count on that.”
BLACKED-OUT MAN (showing motivator: Anonymous–Because none of us are as cruel as all of us)
According to their creedo, they never forget.
Phil Shuman, Fox 11 news.
A pick-apart, from the top:
The anonymous credo is a joke. From what I could find, it’s actually an oft-used reference to the Bible, specifically Mark 5:9. The KJV version of the verse is “And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.” Legion is a demon whom Jesus commands out of a Gerasene man. Read the first 20 or so verses of Mark 5 if you want to read the whole story.
This verse has been adapted by many, many, many people, organizations, bands, and the like. A simple Google search yields thousands of results. The latter part of the verse has been adapted, added to, and adopted by many as a mantra meaning something like, “We are many people, but we act as one.” Thus comes the phrase “We are legion. We do not sleep. We do not forget. We do not forgive.”
I wasn’t able to verify that some of the screen captures were of 4chan.org, but they are certain of image board software similar to that which 4chan uses. The /i/ board on 4chan is not Invasion, but is Oekaki, a board for doodles and scribblings. However, I did pretty much find out who the kid is that “Anonymous” is targeting. He’s a frequenter of 7chan.org, another image board site, and some other users played a joke on him and he didn’t find it funny, but instead opted to contact Fox 11 and spill the beans, attempting to call media attention to the matter. I won’t post the link here, but a little bit of searching on Encyclopedia Dramatica, a parody of Wikipedia, will yield that which you seek.
2-, 4-, and 7chan users, as well as every other #chan user out there, are not all hackers (a term that is already bastardized by the media). Hackers are computer enthusiasts who explore systems in order to learn what makes the system work. Once a hacker uses a discovered vulnerability to his or her advantage, he or she crosses the line and moves to the “dark side”, persay. Hackers should not be confused with these malfeasant hackers, often called crackers. Eric S. Raymond’s How to Become a Hacker has a word on crackers.
The MySpace profile hacks are probably a result of the kid using images from another web site or being a victim of a MySpace worm. These worms are frequent and it’s unlikely that he was singled out. They also only affect Internet Explorer, so the 30% of the web that uses something other than that piece of crap is pretty safe. If MySpace was to close these holes in its own code faster or implement security more effectively, MySpace worms would be a thing of the past.
I believe that the bomb threat thing was too far. It started out as a joke, then was taken out of context by the authorities. Yes, any threat is a threat, but it was still taken out of context and sensationalized without that context.
The rest of the report is a typical *chan conversation taken out of context and without explanation. I’m by no means defending their actions—there is a point of taking things too far—but this report presents an alarmist, sensationalist, yellow journalism-style overview of this world without explaining any part of it.
From what I can tell, though, “Anonymous” is not a group. It’s not a “secret, underground group of hackers bent on chaos and destruction.” “Anonymous” is a mentality associated with anonymity on the Internet, and the players in this particular portrayal of the mentality are doing little more than bullying in the digital age, guys being stupid guys, /b/tards as they’re called on the *chans. Step into a school these days and you’ll find little difference.
The bullying should be taken seriously, but the media has an ethical responsibility to report carefully and, for heaven’s sake, Google a bit before presenting quotations out of context.
BTW, I got a really good laugh from the reporter’s usage of “epic lulz.”
By now, you’ve probably heard about the "bomb scare" in Boston that was really a part of a viral marketing campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
If you haven’t here’s a brief summary: a marketing agency established a viral marketing campaign for ATHF in which fans were asked to make light boards with images of the Mooninites holding up a middle finger. The campaign was conducted in all major cities, and most cities just took the boards down when found. Boston, however, reacted frantically, believing the boards to be bombs and shut down, well, half of the city for a day. A pair of Bostonians were arrested and released on bail. Now, Turner Broadcasting, parent company of Cartoon Network, which airs ATHF, has apologized.
One Bostonian said, "We’re the laughing stock". Yes, Boston, you are. However, you are not alone.
The media drove this to a terroristic-threat level.