[ISN] 'We are the United Nations of Hacking'

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Mon Nov 11 2002 - 01:50:27 PST

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    Srinivasa Prasad
    Bangalore, November 10 
    He is a 16-year-old student from Bangalore and the youngest member of 
    the world's most active 'hacktivist' group, the US-based 
    hacktivismo.com. You can call him 'xtremist' for that is what he call 
    In a way that is what he is, having contributed to the group's complex 
    and highly skilled work that helps people access websites blocked by 
    governments in countries like China and facilitates quick transmission 
    of banned content on the net. Xtremist was contacted after days of 
    tracking and gave this interview on condition that his identity was 
    not revealed:
    Could you tell us something about yourself?
    I don't want to say much about myself.
    How did you acquire the skills to work as a hacktivist?
    Like most hackers, I have taught myself these skills. I always had a 
    special interest in computers. I became very interested in computer 
    security and began cracking into my own computers and started writing 
    buffer overflow exploits. Since then I have been developing open 
    source security tools, things like distributed scanners, rootkits, 
    security kernel modules, intrusion detection systems, packet 
    Why did you decide to be a hacktivist?
    I was always a firm supporter of freedom of speech and information. 
    Freedom on the Internet, probably the only medium where censorship and 
    monitoring can be circumvented, is very important.
    Does anyone here know what you do?
    No, I don't disclose my work to even friends and co-students.
    Are there a lot of hacktivists in India?
    There don't seem to be any.
    What will you do when you finish studying?
    I would like to work in a computer security company like @stake. Or 
    start one in India. I would like to start helping a security company 
    in India part-time even now.
    Aren't you afraid of the governments of countries like China whose 
    filtering mechanisms you are breaking into? You are aware that hacking 
    is a serious offence in India and the police here could catch you.
    I do it for the sake of freedom of the Internet. China doesn’t have 
    legal jurisdiction in Bangalore. There is nothing illegal in what we 
    do. We are not cracking into Chinese computers. We just circumvent 
    firewalls without hurting Chinese government computers.
    How did hacktivism originate? And what do you do?
    Hacktivism winds back to Omega - a longstanding member of the CULT OF 
    DEAD COW - who started using the word as a joke to describe online 
    Oxblood Ruffin (hactivismo’s founder) began using the word, followed 
    by journalists and others. We help people access blocked sites among 
    many things. (For details visit hacktivismo.com or write to 
    How many members does hactivismo have?
    About 22, including hackers, lawyers and human rights activists. There 
    are also informal layers of support that collect network intelligence 
    and assist with application distribution and document translation. 
    Hacktivismo's network is truly international. We are the United 
    Nations of Hacking.
    Which are the countries where you have helped political groups?
    The countries that use filtering include China, Cuba and many Islamic 
    countries. Most claim to block pornographic content but actually block 
    politically inconvenient material.
    Has the Indian government banned access to any sites or is filtering 
    The Indian government and/or ISPs have been restricting access to 
    sites, mostly foreign sites offering free internet telephony. About 
    filtering emails, we are not sure. There is a high probability of that 
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