Our next “Great War” will not be fought on the battlefields of countries with soldiers giving their lives for their nations belief nor with citizens being the unintentional casualties of circumstance, instead it will be battled between computers and their users and the casualties will be the uniformed masses who don’t know the depths of cyberspace politics.
World War I started with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, like all conflicts there is usually a catalyst to every war no matter how significant the effect on the total parties, every major incident begins with a simple domino effect that is traced back to a point of origin; this war’s point of origin will be Julian Assange.
Call him a terrorist, call him a hero, or call him an insignificant pawn, but his personal arrest and website’s recent financial shunning by credit services and hosting has become a major issue in the world of the interwebs on both sides of the issue. With the pressure seemingly mounting daily it appears that is will turn out to be more than some hurt egos, this is warming up to test the security and infrastructure of the world-wide web itself. Call California and warn them because they just may need to guard that little bit of internets in the Stan Marsh FEMA camp they have been putting aside to give citizens their 40 seconds of online browsing in case of disaster.
This week Assange surrendered to the British authorities while his Wikileaks site was in the throes of running around trying to find a host server to showcase his info dealings. Hackers on the anti-front were busy taking down sites that sprung up hosting the Wikileaks mirrors and the pro-Assanger’s were at work taking attack on the likes of Visa, Mastercard and Paypal the sites whom pulled the means of financial support for Wikileaks.
Opponents call Julian Assange a terrorist, but is he the real issue. Frankly, I think he is out of line sharing the secrets of the world nations and creating turmoil amongst the balance of tensions. Like all circles of friends when one friend is gone they all talk about their faults and criticize. Assange is basically airing all the back talking and insults that everyone does but no one admits. Is it right? No. And publicizing the data that could lead to deaths is just inhumane, but he is not the fault of the issue, Assange is the facilitator. The real criminals and the root of this issue is the scabs that are leaking the data.
Think about this in a schoolyard model, you tell a secret to your close friend and confidant. They tell the schoolyard gossiper who everyone knows will blab and spread a scoop to anyone who will listen. Who do you have issue with when everyone knows your secret? The friend that betrayed your trust that’s who. Our only issue is we don’t know who is feeding the info to Assange. If you want the real traitors and terrorists find the people who are mailing out national secrets and then you solve both problems at once. If there were not lose lip folks with top-secret access then Wikileaks would be no more harmful than snopes.com, and less informative than the site it from who it steals its layout.
Likely this will not end with one wave of attack and counter, the anti-Leaks will continue to take down the host sites in an effort to block transmitting of the information worldwide governments want hidden from the snooping public. Rumor is the attacks on the financial world was enacted by none other than Anon over at 4Chan and the World of Chans.
Who is this Anon you ask? Anon is not a person it is a collective.
You may walk by Anon on the street and feel no fear, heck you may be the bully at school who picks on Anon and steals Anons money. Anon might be 85 pounds and still battling acne, Anon might also be 48 years old overweight and a social misfit. Anon could be your boyfriend or girlfriend. Anon is your everyday normal person, but on the interwebs Anon is the hand that rocks the cradle.
This may sound reminiscent of Tyler Durden’s description of “Who is Project Mayhem.” and it should because there is no closer association to Project Mayhem on the web then the boys over at 4Chan, just ask Hal Turner, Steve Jobs, Sarah Palin and Tom Green; all of whom have been hacked, DDoS’ed or pranked relentlessly. Not all of what Anon does is malicious, only the elite should fear the Chans. Many an instance has happened where rouge users have posted threats of violence on 4Chan and it’s users have reeled in the culprit through hacking or just plain old handing over an IP address to the local PD or FBI. They are not out to hurt Average Joe. Frankly they will work for the best challenge and fight for the underdog if given the opportunity to choose. Anon is alot of things but never one to pick on the little guy.
Anon will take this battle to the sites, servers and databases of the enemy. And I have a strong feeling the security around the web is nowhere near the level of intensity to thwart what Anon can toss it’s way. The concept of security is just as evolving as the web itself and ever solution just makes a user find a new path.
At this point you have to question, does Visa and Mastercard have the tech savvy staff on hand to close every door, window and crack in the wall before Anon can sneak in or find new openings? I highly doubt they do. And I also don’t think an “Access Denied” message is the end to an attempt, it just a challenge to harder. And speaking as a nerd, geek, troll and goofball that I am…. I can vouch that time is what they have and they will use it. Anon is up 24/7 and not as a collective, as an individual these guys do not sleep, they pull 38 hour marathons to complete their task, then they grab a Powerbar and a Redbull and find a new target to exploit.
The financial-web does not stand a chance against the trolls it can drive at them, sure the cyber-feds will grab a few if not a bunch, but the difference between the web and the real world is you never have a true count on how many people lurk in the shadows. A few SEALS can hide in the wake of a rough sea before storming a shore, you can even fly a C-130 over a foreign land and shower their target with a hundred paratroopers, but there is no comparison to how many users can lay in wait in a tiny real estate of the web. The web is a cyber-world with no discernible property or size. A server space may lay dormant with a trilobite of space housing the financial records of dozens of businesses waiting for Anon to strike and make it no more than a hollowed out hub of a useless toaster. They can be in and out before the clock ticks from one moment to the next. The interwebs does not comply to the laws of time of physics of reality. It is bent and shaped to the liking of the most powerful… or better yet most experienced user.
When the infrastructure bends towards collapse will your website falter? Will you lose all your wedding photo albums? Will yous till be able to skype with Mary at college?
Imagine the insanity if Facebook were to tumble, 90% of the world would have to talk to their neighbors… the horror! No Tweets from Ashton, no ‘Likes’ for Justin Bieber, no downloads from iTunes, where will they buy the next Taylor Swift CD?
The great outcome of the cyberwar will be the return to normalcy. Children will play outside, teens will buy a CD in a real store and friends will be made on the playground not in the chatroom of a networking site. Boys will kiss girls and our societies will continue to live on in the flesh not in the pixellated world Al Gore thinks he brought us into a gigatime ago.
How will we move on without eMail? Its called an envelope.
I would actually give hopes to the hax0r taking it all down to see my son grow up with a normal life. This blog will have to move to paper, but it will all be worth it.
-Obi Wan Canubi
p.s. One request Anon, I like Woot!, can you spare Woot!? I would truly miss their shirt.woot section.