Friday, August 7, 2009

Bloggers Beware

From Russian Notes
BBC: "High-profile websites including Google, Facebook and Twitter have been targeted by hackers in what is described as a 'massively co-ordinated attack'. Reports suggest the strike may have been aimed at a single user, pro-Georgian blogger known as Cyxymu."

Here's a new twist to the old plot: in our imaginations, the hacker is still an independent loner out the get "The Man." But there's a new breed of hackers out there. They belong to "The Man". They live in the world of The Matrix and they apply their skills neither for random maliciousness, nor to uncover the failings of security systems, nor even for the sheer entertainment of one-upmanship, but to serve the highest bidder.

The thing is, dystopian worlds such as The Matrix, or 1984, or the book-burning universe of Farenheit 451, do not survive. They cannot. It takes imagination to perform even destructive tasks beyond flattening everything under a huge machine, and imagination is what dystopias fear most. But imagination is what dystopias require to achieve domination.

Do you see the paradox? Misdirected minds help the dystopia achieve a certain power, then similar minds bring it down when its walls become too confining. What shall it do? Destroy all the minds? It tries. But then it starves, and something else, non-dystopian, takes its place.

It's not a sci-fi scenario, or a philosophical thesis. More of a lesson in history.

And what is the moral of the story? Watch out for hackers, down with the hackers, long live the hackers, and start getting very familiar with network security. Yes, all of the above and all at once. Like a well-balanced organism, cyberspace needs both harmful and beneficial microorganisms to function properly, and illness can turn one into the other.

Oh, and my first reaction to the attack was that is looked targeted. Why? Not sure. It just did. Maybe because of the sites that were hit.

The Matrix
(1999) Director: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving

1984 (1950) by George Orwell

Fahrenheit 451 (1953) by Ray Bradbury

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