It’s so trendy to be a hacktivist right now. It’s using devices in a devious manner to influence and steer thought. I don’t advise hacking for those not well-equipped to maintain their anonymity. Lone wolf hacktivism can create a lot of attention and enemies for someone that ultimately stands alone; thus requiring the alias. Realistically, there is no need to use any name unless you are publicizing your efforts or writing disinformation articles for inclusion as part of a campaign. Furthermore, there is no need to publicize your efforts to be an effective hacker. But what if continual manipulation of the effect was required to support an agenda?
Examine the following example:
The alias of a serial killer is created by the people investigating the crimes, it’s a moniker given to the case files for classification and organization. The Green River Killer (Gary Leon Ridgway) was given his title by investigators when his first victims were found in the Green River. He did not leave a note or intentionally sign his work as the Green River Killer. Though he was brought down by his DNA; the ultimate signature.
Understand that I’m not comparing serial killers to hackers; I’m merely underlining an observation. Historically, criminal behavior has always been kept on the down-low. There have been exceptions of course like the Zodiac Killer which was very self-promoted and chatty. These criminals that feel the impulse for continual interaction with an audience are displaying a psychopathic egocentric behavior. I suppose that is common for an indulgent over-medicated population but it’s extremely dangerous when that behavior spreads by groupthink.
So it’s fair to consider the hackers which assume trendy aliases and paste them all over the internet are possibly psychopaths. This ultimately leads to the loss of their anonymity by attaching too much of their self to the alias they have decided to publicize. And if they have defaced a great deal of political targets and religious groups, they should expect some threatening opposition. Across the span of my experiences, I have come to understand that politics and religion are subjects you don’t discuss with strangers without exercising restraint. There is a very good reason for this. They are both huge controversial arenas that rely greatly on perception and emotional instability. You can easily force an emotional response in complete strangers with these subjects. Furthermore, by targeting networked political, religious or cultural targets and managing (hiding, changing, deleting, falsifying) information that isn’t yours; you are potentially provoking every single individual that interacts with those resources regularly. And they will seek you out for it.
But is supplying your own hacker handle really just about ego? One upside to supplying an alias with your hack is that it acts as an initial keyword for investigators to focus on, and you can bombard them with disinformation you’ve previously supplied for that alias. If you leave your identity completely up to more labored investigative methods, there is little more than the facts for them to process. You can’t control their investigation if you don’t supply a source name to introduce disinformation from. There will always be facts for investigators to follow, so it’s smart to supply disinformation as well. Albeit, through several inconsistent proxy servers. This is an obvious tactic but communiqué from the perpetrator cannot go ignored.
Another plus for aliases, in terms of hacktivism, is that it gives an identity for you (the champion of your cause) to speak to others that align with your ideals. It’s an established authoritative position, from which, you can introduce new information. By having your alias say what you’re going to do and then do it, you build credibility for that alias. Someone will always take credit for something that furthers a cause, so it may as well be you so you can better control the reactions to it. On the contrary, if you perform a hack and let weeks expire before attempting to take credit; you’ll generate less influence because you’ll likely find someone has already taken credit for your efforts. That may be a good or bad thing. The hacker collaboration, “Anonymous”, has been structured upon this principle. There is so much disinformation surrounding the Anonymous community that investigative efforts end up stalling. With custom software, mobile computing, proxy servers, devious ingenuity, and the legal requirement of placing the suspect at the proper origin of the attack; it surprises me they make any convictions. There are always the less capable, but given the opportunity, there is a way to hack anything. It’s all about clever utilitarianism.
Hackers that create accounts with their alias on social media sites, like Twitter or Facebook, and post updates on their current activities are surely supplying an outlet for their egos. Twitter has capitalized on the emotional deformities of a whole deGeneration. Twitter has even called it “Following” someone, so the egocentric can have their own “Followers”. That’s very Jim Jones of them.
For the past several weeks, I was following an alleged lone wolf hacktivist on Twitter by the name of @th3j35t3r. I’ve stopped following that account because I’ve completed my research for this article, but it has been very entertaining reading about hacks attributed to that alias. There was even a whitepaper written based on th3j35t3r’s adaptable utilitarian tactics. There is much complexity in th3j35t3r’s more notable accomplishments and based on my findings I’ve decided to refrain writing further about this hacktivist.
The entire trending hacktivist movement is pretty cool because it shows a great deal of passion. Or, I suppose, it could simply just be ego-whoring; but either way they are doing something. Though, it seems the bulk of the hacktivist groups are drastically misguided by disinformation and lacking critical thinking skills. That is pretty much how propaganda-charged groupthink works. They might be the equivalent of our time as to the active hippies of the 60’s or the cocaine-snorting corporate diaper yuppies of the 80’s. They’re creating a future that is theirs; and they will have it. The real opportunities are for those that go out on their own. The lone wolves that set their own stage and knock down the pins; they’re the ones that create the possibility to control perception. Trying to control the world with everyone else is time wasted, but masterfully controlling your world is admirably distinctive.
Some research phrases:
LulzSec, Anonymous, Occupy, The Jester
The Jester Dynamic: A Lesson in Asymmetric Unmanaged Cyber Warfare (whitepaper, PDF)
-Jeremy Edward Dion