Monday, June 27, 2011

the gangs of IP will never die, just multipy...,

NYTimes | The recent flurry of hacking done for notoriety rather than financial gain “feels like a kind of return to a period in the past,” said Gabriella Coleman, an assistant professor at New York University who is studying groups like LulzSec and Anonymous.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a number of hacker groups brazenly attacked some major institutions. That wave was largely squelched after a crackdown in which well-known hackers, including Kevin Mitnick, were caught and given heavy punishments, Ms. Coleman said.

After that, hackers began working more quietly, and many joined the security industry, where there was a safer place to employ their skills. Meanwhile, organized crime began moving online, following the money that was flowing through Web-based commerce and banking systems.

The return of more public hacking has been inspired by WikiLeaks, whose disclosure of reams of United States government documents showed hackers and the computer adept that they could use their skills to participate in a new way in the public sphere, Ms. Coleman said.

That notion was fed by Anonymous, a large collective of online hackers that opposed the Church of Scientology, championed freedom on the Internet and came to the defense of WikiLeaks by attacking the Web sites of companies like MasterCard and PayPal, which had refused to process donations to WikiLeaks after it disclosed confidential diplomatic cables.

More recently, Anonymous has gotten behind an array of international political causes, from the democratic uprisings in the Middle East to anticorruption protests in India.

LulzSec began as a splinter group from Anonymous, and LulzSec’s members now seem to be focusing on operating through that larger network.

To judge from purported discussions between LulzSec members that were posted online by a rival hacker known as the Jester, the internal operations of LulzSec seem as chaotic as the anarchistic behavior online. The messages show continual infighting among group members as pressure from law enforcement agencies has increased, and some members have reportedly quit.