Hackers have long held a place of fear in the minds of computer users everywhere. Movies have portrayed hackers as everything from sexually twisted introvert voyeurs to godlike masters of virtual reality. The rise of groups attempting to emulate the success of LulzSec has been intense and rapid, and it is a direct reaction to this distorted image.
To look at hackers like these and call them terrorists is beyond absurd. Accusations have been made that stolen information may put lives at risk. Bomb threats have been made under the alias of AntiSec. Critics complain that hackers are only quickening the pace of the inevitable internet clampdown that corporations have been lobbying for. It is these complaints that fuel the performance art of hacking.
Very serious and powerful people believe that cablegate has actually put lives at risk, despite the lack of a single shred of evidence. News companies have broadcast this contrived message to every home in America and it has become the effective truth. LulzSec forced these arguments to the most absurd level possible. The “chilling” hack on PBS proclaimed Tupac was still alive in New Zealand, propelling their Twitter account’s ascent. Terrorism? More like performance art.
In the aftermath of LulzSec, hackers have used the Fox News Twitter account to declare the death of Obama. SwagSec has defaced police web sites, leaving rap videos by Public Enemy and the kind of tongue-in-cheek death threats gangsta rappers love to make. Both the security of the internet and the general public fear for hackers are being mocked. The hackers are standing up to those who believe the internet is serious business. It’s more than just that, though. They’re standing up to everyone who would label civil disobedience as terrorism.