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Anonymous launched a hacking campaign against Israel

In a previous attack on Monday, Anonymous knocked out multiple Israeli government sites after one of the organization’s members died in the West Bank over the weekend.

22-year-old Tayeb Abu Shehada was killed during a protest in the village of Huwwara in the West Bank after Israeli settlers and soldiers opened fire on demonstrators, reported Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency.

Anonymous ‘knocks out’ Mossad website over Israel’s Gaza offensive

Hacker group Anonymous has reportedly taken down the website of the Israeli secret service Mossad in protest of Israel’s military incursion in Gaza. The ‘hacktivists’ have already targeted a number of organizations in their mission to stop the Gaza genocide.

Mossad’s website went offline at around 00:40 GMT and is still down at the time of writing. The Israeli government has yet to make any comment on the supposed hack attack.

Published time: July 31, 2014 06:18
Edited time: July 31, 2014 06:57
AFP Photo / Daniel Roland

Anonymous launched a hacking campaign against Israel coinciding with the beginning of Operation Protective Edge on July 7.

Anonymous claims that since its operation began, it has taken down “thousands” of Israeli-based websites.

The hacktivist group also released 170 log-in details last Monday which they said belonged to Israeli officials.

Anonymous has also issued an appeal to all of its followers to intensify their attacks on Israeli websites.

“We are calling upon the Anonymous collective, and the elite hacker groups to join our crusade, and to wage cyber war against the state of Israel once more,” said a public statement from the group posted online last Friday.

“As a collective ‘Anonymous’ does not hate Israel, it hates that Israel’s government is committing genocide & slaughtering unarmed people in Gaza to obtain more land at the border.”

The group launched hundreds of attacks on Israeli sites two years ago during the Israeli Defense Force’s (IDF) previous operation ‘Pillar of Defense’ in Gaza.

Anonymous succeeded in leaking the data of 5,000 Israeli officials and hacking into the Israeli deputy premier’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The conflict in Gaza shows no signs of relenting with both the IDF and Hamas continuing to exchange rocket fire. The Palestinian Health Ministry reports than over 1.350 people have been killed in Gaza, while the Israeli side has lost 56 soldiers to the fighting

 

Are hackers the Internet’s immune system?

We need to work with hackers to make the Internet a better place

The beauty of hackers, says cybersecurity expert Keren Elazari, is that they force us to evolve and improve. Some hackers maybe labelled bad guys, but many are working to fight government corruption and advocate for our rights.

By exposing vulnerabilities, they push the Internet to become stronger and healthier, wielding their power to create a better world

Keren Elazari. Cybersecurity expert. Full bio

Four years ago, a security researcher, or, as most people would call it, a hacker, found a way to literally make ATMs throw money at him. His name was Barnaby Jack, and this technique was later called “jackpotting” in his honor.

0:33 I’m here today because I think we actually need hackers.

Barnaby Jack could have easily turned into a career criminal or James Bond villain with his knowledge, but he chose to show the world his research instead. He believed that sometimes you have to demo a threat to spark a solution. And I feel the same way. That’s why I’m here today.

We are often terrified and fascinated by the power hackers now have. They scare us.

But the choices they make have dramatic outcomes that influence us all. So I am here today because I think we need hackers, and in fact, they just might be the immune system for the information age.

Sometimes they make us sick, but they also find those hidden threats in our world, and they make us fix it.

I knew that I might get hacked for giving this talk, so let me save you the effort. In true TED fashion, here is my most embarrassing picture. But it would be difficult for you to find me in it, because I’m the one who looks like a boy standing to the side. I was such a nerd back then that even the boys on the Dungeons and Dragons team wouldn’t let me join.

This is who I was, but this is who I wanted to be: Angelina Jolie. She portrayed Acid Burn in the ’95 film “Hackers.” She was pretty and she could rollerblade, but being a hacker, that made her powerful. And I wanted to be just like her, so I started spending a lot of time on hacker chat rooms and online forums.

I remember one late night I found a bit of PHP code. I didn’t really know what it did, but I copy-pasted it and used it anyway to get into a password-protected site like that. Open Sesame.

It was a simple trick, and I was just a script kiddie back then, but to me, that trick, it felt like this, like I had discovered limitless potential at my fingertips. This is the rush of power that hackers feel.

It’s geeks just like me discovering they have access to superpower, one that requires the skill and tenacity of their intellect, but thankfully no radioactive spiders.

But with great power comes great responsibility, and you all like to think that if we had such powers, we would only use them for good. But what if you could read your ex’s emails, or add a couple zeros to your bank account. What would you do then?

Indeed, many hackers do not resist those temptations, and so they are responsible in one way or another to billions of dollars lost each year to fraud, malware or plain old identity theft, which is a serious issue.

But there are other hackers, hackers who just like to break things, and it is precisely those hackers that can find the weaker elements in our world and make us fix it.

TED
t.ted.com|By Keren Elazari

This is what happened last year when another security researcher called Kyle Lovett discovered a gaping hole in the design of certain wireless routers like you might have in your home or office. He learned that anyone could remotely connect to these devices over the Internet and download documents from hard drives attached to those routers, no password needed.

He reported it to the company, of course, but they ignored his report. Perhaps they thought universal access was a feature, not a bug, until two months ago when a group of hackers used it to get into people’s files. But they didn’t steal anything. They left a note: Your router and your documents can be accessed by anyone in the world. Here’s what you should do to fix it. We hope we helped.

By getting into people’s files like that, yeah, they broke the law, but they also forced that company to fix their product.

Making vulnerabilities known to the public is a practice called full disclosure in the hacker community, and it is controversial, but it does make me think of how hackers have an evolving effect on technologies we use every day. This is what Khalil did.

Khalil is a Palestinian hacker from the West Bank, and he found a serious privacy flaw on Facebook which he attempted to report through the company’s bug bounty program. These are usually great arrangements for companies to reward hackers disclosing vulnerabilities they find in their code. Unfortunately, due to some miscommunications, his report was not acknowledged.

Frustrated with the exchange, he took to use his own discovery to post on Mark Zuckerberg’s wall. This got their attention, all right, and they fixed the bug, but because he hadn’t reported it properly, he was denied the bounty usually paid out for such discoveries.

Thankfully for Khalil, a group of hackers were watching out for him. In fact, they raised more than 13,000 dollars to reward him for this discovery, raising a vital discussion in the technology industry about how we come up with incentives for hackers to do the right thing.

But I think there’s a greater story here still. Even companies founded by hackers, like Facebook was, still have a complicated relationship when it comes to hackers. And so for more conservative organizations, it is going to take time and adapting in order to embrace hacker culture and the creative chaos that it brings with it.

But I think it’s worth the effort, because the alternative, to blindly fight all hackers, is to go against the power you cannot control at the cost of stifling innovation and regulating knowledge. These are things that will come back and bite you.

It is even more true if we go after hackers that are willing to risk their own freedom for ideals like the freedom of the web, especially in times like this, like today even, as governments and corporates fight to control the Internet. I find it astounding that someone from the shadowy corners of cyberspace can become its voice of opposition, its last line of defense even, perhaps someone like Anonymous, the leading brand of global hacktivism.

This universal hacker movement needs no introduction today, but six years ago they were not much more than an Internet subculture dedicated to sharing silly pictures of funny cats and Internet trolling campaigns.

Their moment of transformation was in early 2008 when the Church of Scientology attempted to remove certain leaked videos from appearing on certain websites. This is when Anonymous was forged out of the seemingly random collection of Internet dwellers. It turns out, the Internet doesn’t like it when you try to remove things from it, and it will react with cyberattacks and elaborate pranks and with a series of organized protests all around the world, from my hometown of Tel Aviv to Adelaide, Australia.

This proved that Anonymous and this idea can rally the masses from the keyboards to the streets, and it laid the foundations for dozens of future operations against perceived injustices to their online and offline world. Since then, they’ve gone after many targets.

They’ve uncovered corruption, abuse. They’ve hacked popes and politicians, and I think their effect is larger than simple denial of service attacks that take down websites or even leak sensitive documents. I think that, like Robin Hood, they are in the business of redistribution, but what they are after isn’t your money. It’s not your documents. It’s your attention. They grab the spotlight for causes they support, forcing us to take note, acting as a global magnifying glass for issues that we are not as aware of but perhaps we should be.

They have been called many names from criminals to terrorists, and I cannot justify their illegal means, but the ideas they fight for are ones that matter to us all. The reality is, hackers can do a lot more than break things. They can bring people together.

And if the Internet doesn’t like it when you try to remove things from it, just watch what happens when you try to shut the Internet down.

This took place in Egypt in January 2011, and as President Hosni Mubarak attempted a desperate move to quash the rising revolution on the streets of Cairo, he sent his personal troops down to Egypt’s Internet service providers and had them physically kill the switch on the country’s connection to the world overnight.

For a government to do a thing like that was unprecedented, and for hackers, it made it personal. Hackers like the Telecomix group were already active on the ground, helping Egyptians bypass censorship using clever workarounds like Morse code and ham radio.

It was high season for low tech, which the government couldn’t block, but when the Net went completely down, Telecomix brought in the big guns. They found European service providers that still had 20-year-old analog dial-up access infrastructure. They opened up 300 of those lines for Egyptians to use, serving slow but sweet Internet connection for Egyptians. This worked.

It worked so well, in fact, one guy even used it to download an episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” But while Egypt’s future is still uncertain, when the same thing happened in Syria just one year later, Telecomix were prepared with those Internet lines, and Anonymous, they were perhaps the first international group to officially denounce the actions of the Syrian military by defacing their website.

But with this sort of power, it really depends on where you stand, because one man’s hero can be another’s villain, and so the Syrian Electronic Army is a pro-Assad group of hackers who support his contentious regime. They’ve taken down multiple high-profile targets in the past few years, including the Associated Press’s Twitter account, in which they posted a message about an attack on the White House injuring President Obama.

This tweet was fake, of course, but the resulting drop in the Dow Jones index that day was most certainly not, and a lot of people lost a lot of money. (Good for them. They should target Israel weapon industry)

This sort of thing is happening all over the world right now. In conflicts from the Crimean Peninsula to Latin America, from Europe to the United States, hackers are a force for social, political and military influence. As individuals or in groups, volunteers or military conflicts, there are hackers everywhere. They come from all walks of life, ethnicities, ideologies and genders, I might add.

They are now shaping the world’s stage. Hackers represent an exceptional force for change in the 21st century. This is because access to information is a critical currency of power, one which governments would like to control, a thing they attempt to do by setting up all-you-can-eat surveillance programs, a thing they need hackers for, by the way. And so the establishment has long had a love-hate relationship when it comes to hackers, because the same people who demonize hacking also utilize it at large.

Two years ago, I saw General Keith Alexander. He’s the NSA director and U.S. cyber commander, but instead of his four star general uniform, he was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. This was at DEF CON, the world’s largest hacker conference. Perhaps like me, General Alexander didn’t see 12,000 criminals that day in Vegas. I think he saw untapped potential. In fact, he was there to give a hiring pitch. “In this room right here,” he said, “is the talent our nation needs.” Well, hackers in the back row replied, “Then stop arresting us.” (Applause)

14:52 Indeed, for years, hackers have been on the wrong side of the fence, but in light of what we know now, who is more watchful of our online world? The rules of the game are not that clear anymore, but hackers are perhaps the only ones still capable of challenging overreaching governments and data-hoarding corporates on their own playing field. To me, that represents hope.

15:22 For the past three decades, hackers have done a lot of things, but they have also impacted civil liberties, innovation and Internet freedom, so I think it’s time we take a good look at how we choose to portray them, because if we keep expecting them to be the bad guys, how can they be the heroes too?

My years in the hacker world have made me realize both the problem and the beauty about hackers: They just can’t see something broken in the world and leave it be.

They are compelled to either exploit it or try and change it, and so they find the vulnerable aspects in our rapidly changing world. They make us, they force us to fix things or demand something better, and I think we need them to do just that, because after all, it is not information that wants to be free, it’s us.

The standoff between Britain and the State of Ecuador, which gave Julian Assange political asylum, in order not be extradited to Sweden has been making headlines around the world.

For the past two months, Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblower website Wikileaks, has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. The U.K. courts ruled to extradite him to Sweden where he faces possible sexual assault and misconduct charges. 

Anonymous is a loosely affiliated international collective, composed of tech-savvy activists, which originated online on imageboards and forums.

 posted on Aug. 22 under “What/Who is Anonymous?

Photo by Enrique Dans (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edans/)

This story has caught the attention of the public because it is more than just news: it is a drama. Assange is a controversial figure for his role in publishing classified diplomatic cables on Wikileaks (for more about “Cablegate,” see here), but he is not the only one involved in this spectacle.

Although the U.S. is not directly involved, it casts a shadow over this standoff. Assange and his supporters fear that if the UK extradited him to Sweden, it would not be long before he would be delivered to the U.S.  It is feared that the US would charge Assange with espionage stemming from when his website published a trove of American secrets.

Another controversial player in this drama is the “hacktivist” group Anonymous. Anonymous has used Wikileaks to distribute information it acquired from its hacking endeavors. It has also supported the ideals of free information, freedom of expression and freedom of the press that Assange espoused.

The question people have been asking is, “who or what is Anonymous?” People have asked if members of this  hacktivist group are freedom fighters, vigilantes or terrorists.

Asking about members is not the way to get at the meaning of this group. The real question is, on a metaphysical level, what is Anonymous? On a fundamental level, what kind of entity or being is Anonymous?

In its early days, Anonymous was not an identifiable Internet entity, but was a large subculture of people who posted anonymously and played “pranks” on websites, popularized memes and defined aspects of Internet culture. The creativity and outrageous content on these boards attracted the media, which described this community as brilliant and insane.

In 2008, this boundless creativity developed a more focused shape and perspective on the world. It adopted the name “Anonymous” and often used the image of a suit without a head or a Guy Fawkes mask to symbolize that it had no leader and was the embodiment of an idea.

Since then, Anonymous has become known for its strong opposition to Internet censorship, human rights violations, privacy violations, government opacity, and big corporations. It has become a recognizable presence at protests because its members wear the symbolic masks to show that they are part of this international group.

Photo by Trowbridge Estate (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggers/)

On August 15th, I became aware that Anonymous was following, and invested in, this standoff when Britain threatened to remove the Ecuadorian embassy’s diplomatic privileges and storm the building to arrest Assange. I was up late enough to see several Anonymous groups on Facebook post urgent messages in the early hours of the 16th.

According to the posts, police officers were entering the embassy. The messages were brief and conveyed a sense of anxiety that is rare on such pages. Although separate individuals maintain the various Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, within several minutes of each other, all were calling for available “Anons” to convene at the embassy and see what was going on.

More specifically, the administrators and people online who were not in London were asking others to take pictures and transmit a live video of what was happening.

Soon enough, a protester had a “livestream” feed up and others were taking photos and uploading them to Anonymous pages. In addition, several Anons were able to coordinate a demonstration where they wore Guy Fawkes masks and held signs proclaiming, “I am Julian” as an expression of solidarity.

This was not a risk-free endeavor on the part of the protesters. Police threatened to arrest the man who was filming and they arrested at least one person outside the embassy including a legal observer who was then “released” under the condition that he stay in a designated “protest pen.” (See here)

This remarkable display of efficient collaboration, communication and willingness to act for the good of the group is a large part of what makes Anonymous so remarkable. Anonymous describes itself as a “hive mind” and this could not be a more accurate description. Just as in a hive, each member contributes to the whole and brings his or her talents, abilities, and insights that benefits the community.

Although there are people within Anonymous who have skills in planning operations and working with technology, there is no leader. Each person who participates and contributes has the liberty to take the initiative and start a project on behalf of the collective.

There is no official way to become a “member,” so it is odd to speak of those who consider themselves to be part of Anonymous as such. It is more accurate to say that Anonymous is made up of people who have connected online over shared goals, interests and ideals, and also individually identify with whatever they perceive Anonymous as. (Check out this video)

On a fundamental level, Anonymous is an actualized idea of the potential for freedom, creativity and personal responsibility. It is an idea to which individuals can, and do, attribute their actions that they believe are in-line with the sentiments of the hive mind. 

One can see those who actively participate in Anonymous, or related groups, as parts of a giant brain or fragments of a self-aware collective consciousness. This loosely connected group acts on issues about which the majority of people participating on the Internet feel strongly.

Shared ideas evolve the way an individual’s thoughts evolve and this collective thought process directs the trend of Anonymous’ activity in the physical world. However, this entity does not have specific longterm goals that could potentially stifle the creative and organic way it interacts with the world.

Anonymous’ response to Britain’s threat to the Ecuadorian embassy was an example of this hive mind’s ability to focus on and respond to a specific situation in the physical world. Although the vast majority of Anonymous activity occurs online, this entity has the ability to manifest in the physical world with people acting as eyes or mouths.

The protesters who uploaded photos on the 16th potentially put themselves in harm’s way in order to serve as the eyes of the group. Perhaps one of the reasons people are willing to risk their safety is because no one told them that it was their duty to do so. Instead, it seems that this willingness originates authentically and organically within the individuals, which results in these people having a strong personal investment in their choice of actions, and therefore are willing to do more.

In these moments when someone chooses to act under the banner of Anonymous, the person not only acts for the benefit of everyone creating the hive mind; the individual surrenders his or her own personal identity and assumes that of the whole, becoming Anonymous – both one and many.

What do you think of Anonymous?

Note: Anonymous leaks are not the exclusive real of this group: Political systems adopt anonymous leaks: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/news-leaks-or-spoonfed-official-news/

The case of the Scientology cult: In “Inside WikiLeaks”

In “inside WikiLeaks” Daniel Domscheit-Berg explains how they started to receive documents and video on the Scientology cult.

“After the leaks on the Julius Bar Swiss Bank, we started receiving leaks from “Anonymous” on our chat sessions. The “Anonymous” were recognized by their Guy Fawkes’ masks on You Tube. Guy Fawkes is the guy who attempted to detonate the English parliament in 1605.

The “Anonymous” said:

You might get the impression that we are trying to scare you off, but this is not the case. The Scientology Church trail and harass members protesting their activities.  We are simply protecting ourselves from intimidation tactics that we witnessed other members being submitted to.  The Scientology Church is very rich and employ an array of lawyers to pursuing aberrant legal cases.”

The “Anonymous” sign their message: “Knowledge is free.  We are Legion. We do not forgive.  We do not forget. Expect us!”

The frustrated and scared initiates of the Scientology Church grabbed the opportunity to leak their information through WikiLeaks because they believed to be secure from legal prosecutions.  Tapes, video, and documents on this cult steamed to WikiLeaks.

We first published the internal manual of the sect, a manual only members who acceded to level 3 can purchase, after mortgaging their homes and are reduced to slave for this Church for pocket money.

The member ascends the echelons in a carrier kind manner in order to reach the level “Clear” in the Thetan level hierarchy.  Who are these Thetans?

They are curious creatures who suffered from overpopulation and revolted when our universe was composed of 76 planets. An intergalactic warrior Xenu traveled among the planets and rounded up all the Thetans and dumped them in a volcano in Hawaii and bombed them.  According to the Scientology Church, the spirit of a few dead Thetans hover around earth, looking out for primitive human bodies to enter”

If you are having any problem, rest assured:  One of the Thetan managed to dwell in you!  That is the doctrine of this highly scientific cult. Can you believe many members mortgaged their home in order to buy this “rare” and highly secret and sacred story book?

Whoever fails to progress quick enough in the cult levels must be rehabilitated.

The member is dispatched to the “Rehabilitation Project Force” (RPF) for reeducation or “introspection process”. This cult also own it fleet of specialized boats , called “Sea Org” for rehabilitation purposes.

The rehabilitated member has to undergo humiliating and debilitating series of punishing activities. This non-accomplished member has to sleep in an integral rubber suit and isolated from the remaining crew; he has to eat the leftover of the crew after they have eaten; he has to be constantly running and refused normal pacing; he has to empty the shit pot…before he is permitted to resume his “spiritual’ progression.

The death of 36 year-old Lisa McPherson in 1995, resulting from rehabilitation procedures, forced the cult to facing the legal system. The investigation ended in 2000 for lack of proofs! But the parents of Lisa settled out of court for an undisclosed sum in 2004.

Wikileaks also published lists of businesses and organization dealing with the cult. The founder L. Ron Hubbard pretended in his conferences in the 1950’s of being several million years old and had traveled the universe as an observer.

On a personal level.

In the late 80’s, I was a graduate student and pretty curious of whatever was going on around me.  I might have read a posted ad. on sessions for interpreting dreams.  In the beginning the sessions were free of charge and then we were asked to contribute and later we were to pay $10.  The small booklets on the subject of dreams cost also $10.

In these sessions, the focus was on the appropriate techniques for concentrating, like closing our eyes and imagine a sea, a blue sky, a green field…with someone talking on how to enhance our imagination, relaxing…

At times, we were to listen to tapes with background sounds related to what we are focusing on.  We were asked to light a candle at home and look at the flame and do not waver our mind outside focusing on the candle light… I realized that I am not susceptible to these kinds of hypnosis…

One day, an older lady visited the group of about 15 persons and tried to predict our physical well-being, such as the types of diseases that we are prone to and should be aware of…The lady would close her eyes and claim that she is receiving information from somewhere.  If we wanted a copy of the taped “visions” we had to cough up $10.

This curious exercises was becoming pretty expensive for a student and I desisted.  I recall that the name of Hubbard was mentioned as the founder of this school of Scientology…My hypothesis is that all cults select their members from among the susceptible people, ready to relax their control and letting be led my the “voices”.

In this university town, all kinds of religious sects Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Unitarian…had their churches close to the university. I visited most of them, at least once, on Sundays.

The common denominator among the sects was investing on chorals for their Sunday ceremonies.  The rich sects built sophisticated organ system, those long many pipes of different lengths.

They were mostly conservative and there was no way to discriminate them on their theological differences.  Jesus was mentioned frequently but never the Virgin Mary as in the Catholic Churches, especially in Latin American countries.

The Presbyterian sect served communion.  Eventually, the university reserved a particular room for the Moslem students to pray.

I once attended church at a negro Baptist church in San Francisco:  There was plenty of clapping, dancing, singing but the preach was unavoidably about Moses crossing the desert with his followers.  This Moses story was very common during the slavery period.

I guess the Scientology cult had no such public facilities to exhibit their wealth and popularity.  When I think that Tom Cruise and John Travolta are still staunch high level members in the Scientology cult is pretty unsettling.


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