The Hackers Parade Marches On

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Many more verses have been added to the ballad of LulzSec lately. The hacker group has partnered with Anonymous for an agenda of world cyberchaos, vowed revenge on other hackers who disrupted an online gaming network -- this is after Lulz itself shot down a couple of other gaming networks -- and flipped off authorities who claimed to have caught one of their members.

Its attacks do tend to illustrate the many weaknesses in the online security systems we trust with protecting our data, but the group continues to insist it does it all for laughs -- the lulz, as it were.

First, LulzSec dispelled reports that it was engaged in a hacker civil war of sorts with Anonymous, a we-are-not-a-group group of cyberactivists and general pranksters. In fact, the two groups demonstrated a small measure of solidarity to declare war on the world, or at least the world's governments.

They jointly encouraged hackers around the world, regardless of nationality or affiliation, to start chipping away at government servers and other computer systems. They called on hackers to expose data, deface sites, shut down access, whatever it takes -- just grab whatever cybernetic banana peels you can get your hands on and start throwing them under the feet of any official state regime that's convenient. The goal seems to be general leakage and mayhem.

The whole operation smells a little like Wikileaks, last year's hacktivist operation of the moment. But Wikileaks at least appears to follow concepts like regimens and controls. It encourages its supporters to send data to a central source and then trust that the powers that be at Wikileaks will do the right thing with it -- "right" being a debatable term, of course.

LulzSec and Anonymous, on the other hand, seem to be leaning more toward online anarchy, encouraging everyone to act out on their own.

But watch where you point your guns, hackers. As far as LulzSec is concerned, it's open season on government systems, but woe to any and all who target online gaming networks. Like so many other sites recently, the Sega Pass online network fell victim to a hack attack, bleeding user names and passwords all over the place. All eyes fell on LulzSec, but this time the group denied involvement.

A Field Guide to the Delicious and the Deadly

Monday, June 27, 2011

When I was a kid, I spent quite a bit of time rambling around the local woods in the Pacific Northwest, and if you spend much time outdoors, you're bound to stumble upon wild berries. Some of the berries you'll find are bright, shiny, and altogether appealing ... but also potentially poisonous. We usually had no idea, and since our parents warned us of consequences, including immediate or slow and painful death, we generally avoided most all berries.

Of course, we knew huckleberries on sight, and would always eat those. Occasionally we'd snag some blackberries along a river while fishing, but other berries that were rumored to be edible, well, we just avoided them anyway. Until one day, I realized, I pretty much assume every berry I see while out and about is poisonous.

I'm not sure this is a healthy way of viewing the world, but it certainly is safe. So when I found the app Wild Berries & Herbs HD, I snapped it up, despite the $8.99 price tag.