Few hackers groups in the history of the internet age have claimed responsibility for attacks on so many prominent targets in such a short period of time.
“For the past month and a bit, we’ve been causing mayhem and chaos throughout the internet,” wrote LulzSec today, ”attacking several targets including PBS, Sony, Fox, porn websites, FBI, CIA, the U.S. government, Sony some more, online gaming servers (by request of callers, not by our own choice), Sony again, and of course our good friend Sony.”
What follows is a diatribe on the nature of public hacking and the insatiable appetite of netizens for entertainment, no matter how cruel of illegal the source.
At first it seems like LulzSec is making a case for hacking and disclosing big security vulnerabilities. “This is what you should be fearful of, not us releasing things publicly, but the fact that someone hasn’t released something publicly. We’re sitting on 200,000 Brink users right now that we never gave out. It might make you feel safe knowing we told you, so that Brink users may change their passwords. What if we hadn’t told you? No one would be aware of this theft, and we’d have a fresh 200,000 peons to abuse, completely unaware of a breach.”
But quickly the tone of the message shifts to a more unapologetic, anarchic one. “Yes, yes, there’s always the argument that releasing everything in full is just as evil, what with accounts being stolen and abused, but welcome to 2011. This is the lulz lizard era, where we do things just because we find it entertaining. Watching someone’s Facebook picture turn into a penis and seeing their sister’s shocked response is priceless. Receiving angry emails from the man you just sent 10 dildos to because he can’t secure his Amazon password is priceless. You find it funny to watch havoc unfold, and we find it funny to cause it. We release personal data so that equally evil people can entertain us with what they do with it.”
A hacker with a public Twitter account is a dangerous and novel thing. It means an immediate feedback loop between their mischief and their fans (and enemies). It encourages them to keep moving from project to project and connects them with an army of thrill seekers who make prank phone calls and exploit compromised accounts. Just as #weinergate showed us the new breed of political scandal, LulzSec is internet chaos moving at Twitter speed and scale.