Friday, June 24, 2011

Hackers, Reverse-Anonymity and Bragging Rights - A Study of the Recent Denial-of-Service attack on Govt Sites from the Perspectives of the Human Ego

This was the headlines in our local newspaper, The Sun on 21st June 2011. For you see, a group of hackers had recently launched a cyber attack on the Malaysian Government sites.

Yesterday, 23rd June 2011, another local newspaper, The Star had this report…

A hacker group known as Anonymous had threatened the government websites and on June 16, the sites were hit by a distributed denial-of-service attack, causing them to crash.
Some 200 websites, both government and others, were affected.
Since then, another threat has been posted online and this time the website of the Prime Minister's Office is the target

And it was also reported that the government had taken steps to ensure that its sites would be "resilient to any kind of cyber attacks, even if the attack is announced in advance or a surprise attack."

Hmm. I am just thinking...

Firstly, the objectives of the hackers are never clear. And their real motivation is a secret known only to themselves. Ironically calling themselves ‘Anonymous’, they can be anyone and organized by any person. They work in the peripherals of the cyberworld. But I fear that they are not afraid of losing their anonymity. Like other reactionary subcultures(and let’s face it - men generally), hackers often thrive on publicity and ‘street’ credibility - the much sought bragging rights and being part of a gang. The alternative, being a mundane and anonymous is arsenic to the ego…

190. Mundane
The thought of finding pleasure in the mundane,
The thought that you might be mundane,
Is almost too much for your ego to bear.

In a world where everyone craves a name,
Anonymity is arsenic.

When you have been attacked by hackers, especially on an ostensibly political / ideological reasons, then you react publicly saying, “Oh yeah?! Try that again if you dare!” Well, aren’t you waving a red flag at the bull?

This reminds me of an old prose…

185. Poor Company
The wounded ego and the gloating ego
Make a terrible pair at your dinner table,
All they do is talk about themselves
Unaware you are even there.

I do not know if the hackers will take the bait. But no doubt, even if they don’t bite now, they will keep the cyber challenge in the back of their mind, waiting, at any moment in the near or far future to test their skills against the Malaysian government claims of invulnerability.

Dear Hackers… Well, maybe you have leveled whatever you are doing with your conscience. Maybe there is very strong reasons which impel you to hack the Government websites. But really, why bother? And that 'V for Vendetta' facemask? You must really design your own logo if you want to impress me with your anarchist credentials.

Dear Cyber Security dudes… I am not suggesting you should ignore the threat. Indeed as the security custodian of the websites you should enhance your security system. But to respond publicly in this way… I think you are just walking into another fight. And for the hackers, they live by this single proven belief – What is made by man, can be unmade by man. And they are right. No matter how amazing is your multi layer defenses, no matter how perfect your secured zones, false trails and digital firewalls may be, it will never last.

That is the reality of things. And as always, people forget about the powerful influence that the ego has, and do not bother to address the problem from the ego perspective. So we fall into the ego vs ego trap, and we waste our time fighting an unnecessary battle.

Who says you cannot apply the ego-soul study in mysticism into real life events? This is so, because often man’s action confounds common sense. Don’t you see?

Have a thoughtful day, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

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