Thursday, February 10, 2011

I am done beating this horse. It is dead.

You know what? I can handle it when mainstream media outlets call Anonymous a "hacking group". Everybody knows they don't exactly have a ready supply of technical expertise on hand; they probably couldn't tell an ethernet crimper from a can opener. We expect that from them. It's even sort of adorable sometimes, like seeing an elderly person trying to use a mouse like a foot pedal. But the point is, they don't know any better.

But when Ars Fucking Technica writes a long investigative piece about how dangerous it is to mess with Anonymous, because Anon is a Legitimate Group of Serious Hackers, that's just shameful. They, of all people, should know better. Nothing about Anonymous is secret except their names, and everybody who cares to ask knows that they're a bunch of angry teenagers with computers. But that doesn't make for a very good story, so now we have the tragic tale of Aaron Barr, who came too close to the leaders of Anonymous and got burned.

You know what I see when I read this story? A slightly deranged man, who happens to head a private security firm, decides to pick a fight with a group that's known mostly for their skill at harassment. His boss thinks he's going off the rails, his employees think he's completely deranged, but he presses on. Eventually a hacker shows up, exploits a SQL injection to get access to his company's internal network, and then passes out his passwords to Anonymous, who goes and has a field day, since that's what they do. However, his story happens to involve the major players of the Wikileaks scandal, so people pick it up as a useful proxy for real news.

So fine. I give up. If Ars Technica has decreed that Anon is a Serious Hacking Group, then that's it. Hacking is dead, nobody remembers what it means anymore. Long live Anonymous. :(