Hacking for a Cause

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What does it mean to be a hacker – someone who fights for civil liberties over the World Wide Web, through the means of showing mainstream users what the people with power, who are controlling what people consume, are hiding. In front of the computer, typing on a keyboard sits the cyber-activists bringing face to the issues a majority of people are unaware of.

Only recognizable by a mask, a group called Anonymous, stand for the freedom of information, promote decentralization of information and utilize the power of a group rather than the individual. Judging only by their ability to hack and not by age, race, sex and position, Anonymous stand united, with the power to hack large organizations the threat of anonymous is something to know of, shown by their slogan “Information is free, We are anonymous, We are legion, We do not forgive, We do not forget, Expect us”.

Being a “hacktivist” comes at its own risks – shown by this Northampton article, the event of hacking big businesses PayPal, MasterCard and Visa was seen as an illegal act and the people caught stood trial and jailed for “conspiring to impair the operation of computers”. Though people were caught, named and imprisoned, Anonymous still stands and continues to hack. Anyone can be Anonymous and represent what Anonymous represents. Anonymous is confined to a physical space or presence; they are everywhere and can be anyone.

While the extreme hacking of big businesses isn’t ideal for a lot of people there are ways to show support and understanding for what hacktivists are trying to represent.

F.A.T Lab is a group of hackers that want to make people aware of what they do and what is going on on the internet. By using popular culture, mixing and changing it to create Art, F.A.T Lab provides to impact the way people understand the power of the World Wide Web and understand its potential when limitations are not enforced.

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14 responses »

  1. I really like the idea of F.A.T Lab, I think it is an awesome way to raise awareness of the danger of hacktivism, the only thing is I think hacking into someone’s computer is pretty unethical, but I guess there’s no other way to show people how easy it is to be hacked, I wonder what their face gonna looks like when they found out some random citizen has 1TB worth porn? At the same think I guess hacktivism is also necessary as I remember the US government will use virus to detect if people are doing inappropriate things on their computer such as collecting child porn (https://forms.fbi.gov/check-to-see-if-your-computer-is-using-rogue-DNS).

  2. I think F.A.T. Lab is an awesome concept, bringing hacktivism to a much more accessible medium for normal people. Whilst hacktivism can be a valuable practise, we need to be mindful that hacking itself is illegal, and even if you are ‘hacking for a cause’, it can come at a very serious price. I think Anonymous represent an important facet of online hacktivism, hacking large corporations to release information can be very important in bringing companies to justice. However, in the case of Paypal, where thousands of people’s credit card details were released, Anonymous overstepped their credo and began targeting individuals. Online hacktivism is a reality of our cyber world, however, when hacking for a cause, we need to act with morality and discretion in which information is leaked into the public domain.

  3. I love the idea of F.A.T Lab it is a great way for people with little understanding about the practice of hacking to gain a great insight. When it comes to Hacktivism though both good and bad can come from it. While hacktivists are ultimately aiming to achieve a positive outcome for individuals in society through exposing organisations that hold power, it is an illegal and unethical practice. In saying that though, so much good can come from this concept as well, this article- http://blog.trendmicro.com/hacktivism-the-good-bad-and-ugly-of-cybercriminals-with-a-message/ highlights Operation DarkNet undertaken by Anonymous where they infiltrated and knocked off around 40 different child pornography websites offline. Overall though I do believe that most of the time Hacktivists only do what they do for the better of society.

  4. I can’t decide if you condoning the hackers behaviour or not. I am glad that the hackers of Paypal, MasterCard and Visa were caught and prosecuted. People who ignore laws; who use their knowledge and skills to interrupt or corrupt the system; who think themselves above the system don’t live outside the system. They deserve to be punished as part of it too. The government isn’t always right but it is their job to decide what is and isn’t in public interest. Big business hacking isn’t the only consequence that “isn’t ideal”. In their stance for the decentralization of information they are revealing information that is deliberately hidden by governments. Surely the governments’ reasons for not-disclosing the information should be considered as much as the hackers reasons behind revealing it.

  5. I really like the idea of hacktivism but I also wonder about what happens when people take things too far, or do something that’s wrong but claim it as doing it for good, such as religious wars and things like that. Surely with such a large group of people, like anonymous, there would be people that abuse their system.
    F.A.T. Lab sounds fantastic, making hacktivism more interesting for those who wouldn’t normally care about the justice that hacktivists try to bring to the world.

  6. I do not condone hackers in everything they do. I do not condone hackers who steal credit card details of users or users’ personal information such as address’s , bank details, emails etc…
    Sony was recently hacked with 25million users having their details stolen (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13256817).
    This is a federal crime and unethical; even if they are merely showing the company how easy it is to hack into their system,or as revenge. What about the consumers whom find out their details have been stolen and then must worry and change bank details?
    This is the type of hacking I find senseless as it is criminal. Maybe they need to find a more legal and ethical way to represent their cause?

  7. I like the idea of F.A.TLab. Hacktivism is okay and I think it is important to be able to distinguish between hacktivism and hacking as a negative practice. Those who hack to steal money etc are criminals, but if someone if hacking to get information what does it make them? There does not seem to be a general consensus on how to respond to hacking. If its for public benefit will we still be mad? I follow Anonymous on Twitter and I love what they do… one things for sure though. Those makes are nightmare worthy!

  8. I really like you’re definition of a hacker. I believe that the term hacker gets thrown around loosely and many people are not aware of what the real meaning to be a hacker is, even i didn’t really know until this weeks lecture. I found this great article on ethical hacking that you may find interesting http://www.morganmckinley.ie/article/ethical-hackers-good-guys The F.A.T Lab video was so interesting to see that people wanted to see the reaction of the public by hacking but in an artistic form. I especially liked how they did the google car experiment, and the amount of uprise that was caused by that, to think it was so easy to fool so many people is crazy!

  9. The video about F.A.T Lab was so cool, I loved the fact that hacking and hactivism doesn’t always have to be about taking down the government, or releasing huge amounts of personal details as a form of revenge. I really liked that they were just enjoying themselves, making art, but at the same time, they could make a comment on society and culture. Such good ideas haha. Anyway, don’t know why, but it made me think of Internet pranks, which can be a light hearted hack. http://listverse.com/2013/09/06/10-internet-hoaxes-and-pranks/ . Its good to see a different perspective on hacking, cheers! 🙂

  10. The video you used was great! The idea of F.A.T lab was actually really refreshing, its kind of like a service announcement to the people. Trying to explain anonymous and hackers can be a surprisingly hard task but you managed to do it really well!
    I wonder how effective hacktivism is though? This article is a little on the old side but the points raised are really relevant and interesting is regards to the effectiveness of hackers and hacktivism. http://www.csoonline.com/article/2132568/malware-cybercrime/hacktivism-gets-attention–but-not-much-long-term-change.html

  11. Great use of examples! F.A.T Lab was perfect in informing your discussion. I like that you turned towards Anonymous as well and raised the argument that they cannot be criticised on basis of sex, age, race or religious beliefs. They are only being criticised for their actions and their principles which is a very rare thing to occur with controversial groups in society. I reckon you should go into this discussion further, how are hackers being critiqued and the fact that the only way to be judged on the content of your character is if you hide your face.

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