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Anonymous & LulzSec Terrorist Ties

Anonymous & LulzSec Terrorist Ties

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Published by jigabachi909

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Published by: jigabachi909 on Jul 29, 2011
Copyright:Public Domain

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06/07/2013

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Hacktivism: the Perfect Recruitment Tool for Terrorist Organizations
The book
The Art of Intrusion
by hacker and security researcher Kevin Mitnicktells the story of two boys who were taken advantage of by a man known as Khalid theTerrorist. Two young hackers, known as ne0h and Comrade, were approached in ahacker hangout on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) by a man who challenged the boys tobreak into government and defense computers. After all, being able to hack into thosesystems was considered a holy grail. The terrorist used two simple tactics, one of whichwill work on most hackers. Rather than threatening the boys, Khalid challenged their skills and made them feel that they had to prove they could hack into these systems. Helater used bribery as well. The information given to Khalid by ne0h and Comrade issuspected to be some of the information that was used to plan the Taliban hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814. The boys did not truly realize they were aiding a terroristuntil after the fact (Mitnick & Simon, 2005). So, as you see, it would not be so far fetched that a terrorist group such as Hamas would use Anonymous/LulzSec as a frontto recruit support or to entice young hackers to commit acts that would promote aterrorist cause.
Criminological Theories That Explain the Hacker’s Potential For Recruitment 
Looking back to criminology, the effectiveness of using social media and a“hacktivist” movement to recruit supporters or perhaps operatives makes sense.Individuals commit digital crimes for many different reasons. Although not all hackersare criminals, criminological theories perhaps best explain the factors that contribute toa hacker’s vulnerabilities and, in turn, the potential ways in which an organized crime
 
ring or terrorist group may target those vulnerabilities to recruit hacker talent. TheChoice Theory asserts that an individual makes a conscious and rational decision tocommit a crime after weighing the risks and benefits. The Deterrence Theory supposesthat offenders choose to commit a crime because the penalty for that crime does notdeter them from committing the crime. Some individuals do not think incarceration or even the death penalty are unpleasant enough that they would like to avoid thosepunishments. If an individual is “guaranteed” anonymity, he or she may also boldlycommit an act that would otherwise have severe consequences. The Social Structuretheories, in particular the Strain Theories view crime as a result of deprivation or perceived deprivation, feelings of inadequacy, or perhaps another stressor such as theloss of a loved one. These theories suggest that stress and strain drive people to usecriminal means to seek material wealth or other things that “compensate” for their condition in life (Taylor, et al., 2006).The Subculture Theory suggests that criminals hold values, norms, and beliefsthat are in opposition to what is socially acceptable. Subculture Theory and the relatedDifferential Opportunity Theory and Delinquency and Frustration Theory teach thatdisadvantaged upbringing, lack of opportunity, and inability to obtain middle class or desired status cause affected individuals to band together and form their ownsubcultures with their own ideals. These subcultures may simply act in ways contrary tothe social norm or may turn to crime, violence, and gang membership to fulfill their needs for acceptance. Social Structure Theories are related and suggest that whentraditional goals are blocked, individuals look for new and creative ways to pursuegoals. This innovation often leads to criminal activity. The other response when goals
 
are blocked is for individuals to rebel by rejecting society
ʼ
s goals and the means toattain those goals. This can lead to an alternative economy with alternative opportunitystructures and an alternative view of what is and is not acceptable. This theory oftenexplains the origins of criminal hackers, particularly those who seemed convinced thatwhat they are doing is not wrong but is a way to correct a social injustice (Taylor, et al.,2006). The related Neutralization or Drift Theory supposes that some criminals do havetraditional values but temporarily suspend these values due to circumstance. Thetechniques a person may use to neutralize his or her sense of right and wrong includedenial of responsibility, denial of injury, denial of victim, condemnation of thecondemners, and appealing to higher loyalties. Taking on an online alter-ego may alsoallow the criminal to distance himself from his real world character and allow him toperform acts he would not otherwise consider (Taylor, et al., 2006).Social Process Theories perhaps best explain the development of virus writers,as the process of learning to write viruses entails a learning and social conditioningprocess by peers in the hacker or virus writing community. Many of these virus writersmust “prove themselves” when first starting, or the rest of the community will beunwilling to teach them anything. Positive reinforcement following a successful virusappeals to the person
ʼ
s ego and/or deep need for acceptance. The virus writer alsooften adopts the viewpoint that writing viruses can actually help people by exposingvulnerabilities, or he or she may subscribe to other skewed values promoted by thecommunity that can lead the person to think computer crime is justified. This theory canalso explain why some individuals would be drawn to Anonymous/LulzSec, even if theydo not necessarily adhere to the group’s ideals. Anonymous/LulzSec becomes a

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