By CATHERINE SOLYOM
The Gazette, 31 March 2012
Hack the planet – save the world.
That’s become the rallying cry of an army of keyboard warriors known as Anonymous, which in the last 18 months has targeted everyone from the Tunisian government to the Boston police, the Vatican to Sony, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to PayPal, blocking their websites or retrieving embarrassing files and emails for the world to see.
MONTREAL – The elusive “hacktivist” collective, identified only by its logo of a headless man in a suit or its Guy Fawkes masks, has hacked into the Syrian defence ministry and Bank of America. It has eavesdropped on Scotland Yard and the FBI. And it has outed alleged white supremacists across Canada, including a couple in Quebec City.
With over 15 million page views on its main news website and more than 560,000 Twitter followers, it’s clear the world is paying attention to this nascent form of politics – and for good cause.
According to a report by Verizon released last week, 2011 was a bumper year for hacktivists. Their activities accounted for 58 per cent of all data theft (or about 100 million files), beating out hackers for profit in their zeal to steal state and corporate secrets, to promote their views or defend their followers.
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For Coleman, Anonymous will have staying power as long as it remains unpredictable and reacts to world events. The iconography of the headless man in a suit, and the Guy Fawkes mask, has the potential to become this generation’s peace symbols, she said.
But for McLean, the cyber-sleuth, Anonymous should be a wake-up call to all governments and corporations to lock their online doors and windows, before hackers for profit and hacktivists decide to join forces.
“I think we’ll see the political hacktivist and cyber-criminal thieves come together and share information,” McLean said. “It’s a natural evolution. And if that happens, then they will be propelled to another level – to a criminal empire.”
Phi Beta Iota: What is really happening here is that legalized crime is now co-equal with illegal crime in the eyes of citizens armed only with common sense. Governments and corporations have lost all semblance of legitimacy and “buyer beware” now ranks anything offered by a government or corporation at or BELOW a System D or transnatonal crime — the latter two are honest at the transaction level.