Talking LulzSec/Anonymous vs PayPal on TripleJ’s Hack

On Wednesday afternoon, LulzSec and Anonymous joined forces to encourage people to boycott PayPal by withdrawing their money and closing their accounts.

The back story is that PayPal has cut off WikiLeaks’ account, meaning that people could no longer donate money to WikiLeaks via PayPal. Anonymous launched distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against PayPal. Last week the FBI and others arrested people alleged to have been responsible for those attacks. So this week, the boycott of PayPal.

The joint statement by LulzSec and Anonymous makes for interesting reading. It describes DDoS attacks as “ethical, modern cyber operations”. Such things are actually a criminal act, despite what Anonymous may imagine the law to be. “Law enforcement continues to push its ridiculous rules upon us,” they write, when it’s not law enforcement who makes the laws, but governments.

The call for the boycott was unfolding as Triple J’s current affairs program Hack was going to air, and I phoned in a report. Here’s the audio.

I found it interesting that presenter Tom Tilley responded to my comment that DDoS is a crime by saying “Yeah I imagine there’d be people with lots of different points of view about what they’re doing and whether it’s indeed lawful.”. Personally I reckon the law in this is pretty clear. Pandering to their audience?

The audio is ©2011 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It has been extracted from the full program audio [MP3].

Talking hacker arrests on ABC’s “The World Today”

While I was busy writing an op-ed on the LulzSec vs Murdoch saga this morning — and I’ll post more about that momentarily — I got a phone call from ABC Radio’s lunchtime current affairs program The World Today to comment on the FBI’s arrest of alleged Anonymous-connected hackers overnight.

The story is TransAtlantic arrests target hackers, and if you click through you’ll get both transcript and audio. You’ll hear me, as well as Patrick Gray, presenter of the Risky Business podcast on information security. The reporter is Sarah Dingle.

I’d be interested to know what you think of these arrests.

Patrick reckons they arrested nobodies.

This current batch of arrests will “bring to justice” a bunch of people who made no attempt to conceal their actions because they’re either technically useless or just didn’t care.

They’re “low hanging anons”.

But that won’t stop the mainstream media from portraying this as the establishment striking back at online troublemakers.

I reckon that while that may or may not be true, the computers the FBI has just seized will be handy evidence when it comes to tracking down other culprits. After all, their operational security has hardly been world class.

Weekly Wrap 55

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. If last week was a bit thin, this week more than made up for it — and as I noted yesterday, I’m knackered.


  • Patch Monday episode 93, “Are we missing the bus on Gov 2.0 data?” A popular Sydney Buses app died when Sydney Transit cut off the data feed after just a few weeks, citing lack of server capacity. Developer Ben Hosken is disappointed, but he’s more concerned that developers aren’t making enough use of the government data on offer. I also speak with developers Benno Rice and Adrian Chadd.


In addition to these, I wrote a fifth piece for ABC’s The Drum, but that hasn’t been published yet. And there’s a couple of pieces I’ve been working on that I must finish and file tomorrow.

Media Appearances

I did five radio spots this week, which is a record I think. Well, except for when I worked full time in radio, obviously.

  • On Tuesday I spoke with Louise Maher on ABC 666 Canberra about the photographic project Everyday Photographs, Extraordinary Journeys, which I inspired. Well, partly inspired.
  • On Thursday morning I spoke with Adelaide radio 1395 FIVEaa about the National Broadband Network. I’ve already posted the audio.
  • A little later on Thursday morning I spoke on ABC Radio National’s Life Matters about the current state of play in information security. I’ve already posted about that.
  • While I was talking live on Radio National, ABC North Coast NSW broadcast an interview with be about Facebook and Social Media that has been pre-recorded. Alas, I don’t have a copy.
  • On Thursday afternoon I spoke with ABC 774 Melbourne about Bitcoin a digital currency. And I’ve posted that audio too.

Corporate Largesse

None. We’ll have to fix that. Dear PR Operatives, my junket calendar for July is empty. You know what to do. I prefer an aisle seat.


Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: The afternoon sunlight can be fierce at The Grand View, an image taken in The Grand View Hotel, Wentworth Falls, yesterday.]

Patch Monday: Proving your identity online

ZDNet Australia logo: click for Patch Monday episode 31

“Please log in with your Facebook ID”, says the website. But it’s not Facebook. Sure, they’re trying to make things easier by using your existing login. But can you trust them?

Of course not! However, there are systems that allow you to sign in securely across multiple sites using a common login. They’re called “federated ID”.

In the Patch Monday podcast this week, David Simonsen, manager of Where Are You From (WAYF), a Danish electronic identification system, explains how so-called “federated IDs” and pseudonyms are already being used in Austria’s public health system and in Denmark’s education system.

We also have our first audio comment. A Scientologist tells us precisely what he thinks of the protesters from Anonymous, the kind of people who ran the denial-of-service attack on Parliament House we covered last week.

You can listen below. But it’s probably better for my stats if you listen at ZDNet Australia or subscribe to the RSS feed or subscribe in iTunes.

Please let me know what you think. We accept audio comments too. Either Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

Crikey: How I brought down the Parliament House website

Crikey logo

I wrote about the Anonymous attacks on the Parliament House website for Crikey as well as covering it in this week’s Patch Monday podcast.

In How I brought down the Parliament House website there’s a few quotes from c0ld blood, who was one of the attack’s organisers, as well as some of the other podcast participants.

The new angle is a few comments from the Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services, Alan Thompson, who runs Parliament House. He is not amused, and rightly so.

Patch Monday: Tough titties: Govt sites stormed

ZDNet Australia logo: click for Patch Monday episode 30

A scoop in the Patch Monday podcast this week: an interview with c0ld blood, one of the organisers of the denial-of-service attack on the Parliament House website by Anonymous.

While Anonymous is better known for its masked protests against the Church of Scientology, some people operating under the Anonymous brand have branched out into protests against the Rudd government’s mandatory internet “filtering” program. Their attack in September 2009 brought down the Prime Minister’s website for about 10 minutes.

This time they were a lot more effective, with the target site being with with up to 7.5 million requests per second.

As well as c0ld blood, we hear from security consultant Crispin Harris, the vice-chair of Electronic Frontiers Australia Colin Jacobs, and a statement from AnonSA who distance themselves from the attacks.

You can listen below. But it’s probably better for my stats if you listen at ZDNet Australia or subscribe to the RSS feed or subscribe in iTunes.

Please, let me know what you think. We now accept audio comments too. Either Skype to “stilgherrian” or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.