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Hacking Group Retires: Were They Helping or Hurting?

Christine Lusey 2011/06/27 19:00:00
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It's over! The group of hackers calling themselves Lulzsec has disbanded after 50 days of defeating the security of some of the world's most high-profile companies and government agencies.

The group, whose members remain anonymous, released scores of files obtained from infiltrating Sony, Nintendo, the CIA and the FBI, among others.

In a press release, Lulzsec said 50 days was all they'd ever planned, and encouraged others to carry on the work of Operation Anti-Security, their campaign, along with another prolific hacker group, Anonymous, to attack banks, governments and law enforcement agencies, like the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

We'll probably never know if they're telling the truth, and they'd only planned a 50-day spree all along, or if they were worried about mounting scrutiny from the authorities and other hackers.

Was Lulzsec just a bunch of cyber-terrorists, or did they do some good by exposing security flaws and promoting the freedom of information?

Excerpts from the Lulzsec press release are below:

"We are Lulz Security, and this is our final release, as today marks something meaningful to us. 50 days ago, we set sail with our humble ship on an uneasy and brutal ocean: the Internet. The hate machine, the love machine, the machine powered by many machines. We are all part of it, helping it grow, and helping it grow on us.

"For the past 50 days we've been disrupting and exposing corporations, governments, often the general population itself, and quite possibly everything in between, just because we could. All to selflessly entertain others - vanity, fame, recognition, all of these things are shadowed by our desire for that which we all love. The raw, uninterrupted, chaotic thrill of entertainment and anarchy... "

Read More: http://gawker.com/5815589/lulzsecs-brief-reign-of-...

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Top Opinion

  • Moonage 2011/06/27 23:03:20
    What they did was illegal
    Moonage
    +5
    Data is stuff. Stealing data is stealing stuff. It's a lot of fun to break security, I've done it a few times. But, it's not something I'd run around bragging about. People who don't like having their stuff stolen just don't laugh about it that much.

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  • jimrthy... sockpuppet 2011/06/30 19:11:28
    jimrthy BN-0
    Glad I could give you something interesting to research, with corporations. Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad is the case where they became people.

    As for blame:

    The NSA recently came out and stated that their basic security precautions include just assuming that their computers have already been compromised. They have to one of the most high profile targets on the planet.

    I don't think it's fair to compare it to a mugging or rape. If your bank leaves the keys hanging next to the front door when they lock up at night, they shouldn't be able to get away with "Hey, that was against the law! We shouldn't have needed to worry about it" when they show up the next morning and find the vault empty.

    That robbery would be totally the thieves' fault. But there should be something in place to protect the bank's customers from that sort of gross negligence.

    If the "robbery" were just sneaking in, taking embarrassing photos, and then getting them published in the local paper...I'm sure *some* law covers that. Trespassing, maybe?

    I'm not condoning the cracking or pretending they aren't guilty of *something.* Just that it doesn't sound to me as if they deserve criticism quite as harsh as everyone else seems to be ready to dish out.
  • sockpuppet jimrthy... 2011/06/28 16:33:33
    sockpuppet
    +1
    OK...
    I just wiki'd "self-ownership" and it seems to be a can of political
    worms that doesn't fit in with this topic. Are you suggesting, to
    some degree, that crimes against corporations are victimless,
    to some extent?

    I'm trying to avoid putting words in your mouth or carrying out
    an idea to a ridiculous extreme. I always enjoy reading your
    viewpoints on this forum-- I just honestly don't know what the
    controversy is all about, here.
  • jimrthy... sockpuppet 2011/06/29 18:27:58
    jimrthy BN-0
    Yeah, the self-ownership thing really doesn't apply at all. Except as far as a corporation's legally a slave.

    It doesn't have any real existence. It's only a concept. Talking about crimes against a corporation is like talking about crimes against the number 4. Or crimes against unicorns.

    As far as it does exist (still a legal fiction), it's just a thing that's owned. So we might as well talk about crimes against my toaster, or against your computer.

    This sort of viewpoint probably will seem ridiculously extreme to most. But only because our society has gotten so screwed up that we believe imaginary things are real.

    I didn't think you were trying to put words in my mouth or be snarky :-). I've enjoyed reading your viewpoints as well, even when I've disagreed. You've always struck me as thoughtful and respectful.

    I can totally see the confusion if this is the first time you've run across this particular opinion. It *is* pretty far outside the mainstream box. That doesn't change its truth.
  • sockpuppet jimrthy... 2011/06/29 19:33:23
    sockpuppet
    It's a compelling idea, I'll give you that. It would certainly go a long way toward explaining some of the nightmarish complexity of modern business and shady monetary policies.

    I'll hit the library later this week and see what I can find. Thanks!
  • jimrthy... sockpuppet 2011/06/30 19:12:33
    jimrthy BN-0
    Cool. Have fun.
  • jimrthy... sockpuppet 2011/06/28 15:20:05
    jimrthy BN-0
    I think what they did was a lot worse than "simply helping to expose...security flaws."

    Comparing it to rape and/or murder is just ridiculous.
  • sockpuppet jimrthy... 2011/06/28 16:15:48
    sockpuppet
    They're stealing money... and it takes time to make the money they steal,
    so they're effectively stealing our time, not to mention the food from our
    tables.

    The 'rape' analogy isn't quite so clear-cut, but it's not so far-fetched. either.
    Some who have had their (often, VERY personal) data made public have
    been violated in ways which ruin their lives.

    Tell me this isn't a 'power' thing, given the hacker's notoriously maladjusted
    personality. They resent people that they perceive to be powerful in some
    way, and seek to "bring them down" in a righteous act of rape. Symbolic
    or not, the effect is very similar.
  • jimrthy... sockpuppet 2011/06/29 18:36:15
    jimrthy BN-0
    If they're stealing actual money, I'll totally give you that one. Theft is theft.

    Forcing companies (or the government) to fix broken security by exposing it isn't theft. It isn't what I'd call good, but it's a whole lot better than breaking in and quietly inflicting harm (like, say, stealing credit card numbers and then using them) without letting anyone know.

    I can see the symbolic rape analogy from the cracker's point of view. But it really falls apart from the other side. I've known way too many rape victims to think the two are comparable.
  • Storm D... sockpuppet 2011/06/29 00:30:18
    Storm Dewleaf
    They didn't break into a house and rape or murder. They walked into a unlocked door that was merely shut and left a note saying "You're a dumbass" and stole some office supplies.
  • sockpuppet Storm D... 2011/06/29 03:04:03
    sockpuppet
    You consider millions of credit card numbers and user data to match
    to be "office supplies?"
  • Storm D... sockpuppet 2011/07/01 06:04:14
    Storm Dewleaf
    From what I remember hearing and reading, they managed to get a lot of email/password combinations and data that wasn't exactly highly sensitive. Now, I may have missed it in the long list, but I didn't see any credit card numbers in their list of releases. Game show contestants, a pointless list of ATM locations...yeah, that sounds equivalent to office supplies to me.

    As far as the release of logins...if a bank leaves your lockbox key sitting on the counter and someone steals it, it wasn't right and it sucks but the bank's still more at fault. It shouldn't take a theft to get people to start paying attention, and It shouldn't take a casual hacker group to get websites containing personal information to have decent security.
  • sockpuppet Storm D... 2011/07/01 13:39:17
    sockpuppet
    Newspapers reported that the hackers were selling credit card
    and banking data. Doesn't stretch the imagination too much to
    think these crumbs might actually be unethical.

    --In addition to the intrusion and theft issues, I mean.
  • Big Battles 2011/06/28 00:39:20
    What they did was illegal
    Big Battles
    my question: http://www.sodahead.com/unite... can no longer be answered

    but they hacked PSN, Minecraft, Elder Scrolls and much more! That cannot be good for the gaming economy.
  • Horace 2011/06/28 00:38:51
    What they did was illegal
    Horace
    +2
    These people were reckless with what they were doing and they could have gotten someone hurt, countries need secrets in order for any kind of diplomacy to work particularly in times of war.
  • jimrthy... Horace 2011/06/28 15:14:39
    jimrthy BN-0
    At the same time, citizens cannot make intelligent voting decisions when their government lies to them. Which happens pretty much constantly in the US.

    Governments must be more accountable when they're at war. The alternative is an incentive to stay at war constantly. Which also seems to have become reality in the US.
  • Soundstorm 2011/06/28 00:28:11
    What they did was illegal
    Soundstorm
    +2
    It's typically mundane for criminals to be so full of themselves and to imagine they're smarter than responsible law abiding people. Punks like this will always get a reality check the hard way if it doesn't kill them first.
  • prometheus 2011/06/27 23:58:33
    Undecided
    prometheus
    +1
    No matter how strong your security is for a website or pc, youre going to get hacked. from following LulzSec, theyre pretty much exposing corruption in our govt. And the "whitehats" are corrupted too.

    The whitehats asked LulzSec to be on their side, even asked them to take down their competition.

    All they have is accounts, I buy stuff with the $20 PSN card when im on my ps3. I know the internet very well, that youre going to get f*cked over.
  • U Mad Bro? 2011/06/27 23:45:55
    They helped expose security flaws
    U Mad Bro?
    +1
    They went to show that America isn't invincible. If you want to defeat us, War isn't going to work, Just punch holes in our infrastructure and the rest will crumble.
  • Stacy F 2011/06/27 23:43:42
    What they did was illegal
    Stacy F
    +2
    Damn right its a good thing! Those idiots posted personal information, like AZ DPS officers home numbers and addresses, and made it available to ANYONE that was interested! Some of the DPS officers in Arizona do extremely dangerous undercover work. How long would they have lasted if LulzSec had been allowed to continue doing what they had been?
  • Soundstorm Stacy F 2011/06/28 00:30:07
    Soundstorm
    +1
    I wonder if the FBI is looking for them now.
  • Stacy F Soundstorm 2011/06/28 00:49:33
    Stacy F
    +2
    Do you think the FBI could find 'em?
  • Soundstorm Stacy F 2011/06/28 00:56:32
    Soundstorm
    +1
    Or if they're even trying.
  • JakeisHere 2011/06/27 23:40:37
    Undecided
    JakeisHere
    There is a certain methodto their madness. Not that I am condoning their actions.
  • cellophane 2011/06/27 23:39:38
    Undecided
    cellophane
    +3
    They were helping IT people whose executives were ignoring security recommendations for years because they didn't want to sink more money into computer security.

    They weren't doing much to help executives who would just as soon that their IT security experts would just shut up and go away.
  • sardonicist BN-0 2011/06/27 23:34:27
  • TimothyBrianFoley 2011/06/27 23:20:49
    What they did was illegal
    TimothyBrianFoley
    +1
    Let's bring more down hackers terrorist hackers terrorist hackers terrorist hackers terrorist
    Well fat slobs are terrorists I ain't a fat slob so I ain't a terroist.
  • foxhound BN0 2011/06/27 23:16:26
    What they did was illegal
    foxhound BN0
    +2
    "just because we could. All to selflessly entertain others - vanity, fame, recognition, all of these things are shadowed by our desire for that which we all love. The raw, uninterrupted, chaotic thrill of entertainment and anarchy... "

    Sounds like common criminals to me.
  • Paredesd12 2011/06/27 23:15:05
    What they did was illegal
    Paredesd12
    +3
    I really don't think taking out the Ps3 network did much good. It just pissed a lot of people off.
  • Moonage 2011/06/27 23:03:20
    What they did was illegal
    Moonage
    +5
    Data is stuff. Stealing data is stealing stuff. It's a lot of fun to break security, I've done it a few times. But, it's not something I'd run around bragging about. People who don't like having their stuff stolen just don't laugh about it that much.
  • Common Sense Conservative 2011/06/27 22:45:32
    What they did was illegal
    Common Sense Conservative
    +1
    Should have went about it in a different way.
  • Soundstorm Common ... 2011/06/28 00:32:04
    Soundstorm
    +1
    Like an honest job in IT security.
  • Common ... Soundstorm 2011/06/28 00:53:29
    Common Sense Conservative
    +1
    yeppers
  • Nam Era Vet #1 DNA TLC 2011/06/27 22:25:51
    Undecided
    Nam Era Vet #1 DNA TLC
    +1
    Both illegal and expose security flaws
  • ★~DoctorWhoGuru~★ 2011/06/27 22:23:52
    Undecided
    ★~DoctorWhoGuru~★
  • Dan 2011/06/27 22:15:45
    Undecided
    Dan
    +4
    they did it for the lulz
    lulz
  • NoName 2011/06/27 22:10:17
    Undecided
    NoName
    Both really.
  • Delete 2011/06/27 22:09:05
  • Soundstorm Delete 2011/06/28 00:34:12
    Soundstorm
    Shouldn't companies exercise the option of hiring their own IT experts in charge of internet security?
  • Delete Soundstorm 2011/06/28 01:27:41
  • Soundstorm Delete 2011/06/28 01:44:41 (edited)
    Soundstorm
    On the other hand, with amnesty an employer is taking the risk of hiring someone he already knows is untrustworthy.

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