[ISN] Phreaking Hacktivists - What's in a Name

From: mea culpa (jerichot_private)
Date: Fri Oct 30 1998 - 15:01:57 PST

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    Forwarded From: Nicholas Charles Brawn <ncb05t_private>
    It's a full-time job staying abreast of the jargon that comes spinning out
    of the Web. The latest term to make us quizzical: hacktivism, the term
    being used to describe the recent attack on an Indian army website. 
    Soon after www.armyinkashmir. com had been set up to denounce Pakistan's
    "proxy war" and "narcotics terrorism" in Kashmir, it was hacked. Or rather
    cracked. The difference is important. Hackers see themselves as the
    intellectuals of Geek City's computer-code ghetto. They make programs
    better, spotting security flaws. Crackers are the bad guys, illegally and
    maliciously breaking into sites and servers for kicks or cash. 
    So what on earth is a hacktivist? A cracker with a conscience. If crackers
    are the online equivilent of juvenile joyriders, hacktivists are like the
    guys blocking highways to protest pollution. Hacktivism is virtual direct
    action, and it is becoming increasingly popular as the first generation to
    have grown up with the Net comes of political age. And Asia is at the
    forefront of the new movement. In June, an Indian nuclear facility was
    targeted in the wake of that country's bomb tests. In August, crackers
    helped focus attention on the plight of Chinese Indonesians. Meanwhile, a
    mysterious group of dissidents called the Hong Kong Blondes has been
    employing its skills on China's police networks, tipping off anybody it
    finds lined up for political arrest. Those responsible are now recognized
    as pioneer hacktivists. 
    The tag has the approval of a long-serving computer security group. Its
    new site hacktivism.org will soon be brimming with tips and tools to
    spread the hacktivist gospel. For now it contains the following handy
    definition:  "Hacktivism: a policy of hacking, phreaking, or creating
    technology to achieve a political or social goal." Phreaking? Bookmark the
    computing glossary at wombat.doc.ic.ac.uk/foldoc/ index.html. You're going
    to need it. 
    ASIAWEEK 30/10/1998 
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