[rohrpost] WG: Hacker

Henning Ziegler hziegler@zedat.fu-berlin.de
Fri, 23 Aug 2002 10:17:57 +0200

[Ver=F6ffentlichung in englischer Sprache aus NMEDIAC, Summer 2002]

The Digital Outlaws: Hackers as Imagined Communities

- Henning Ziegler

Introduction: "We love your Computer"

The goal now is not whatever all the analysts first set out to do; the
goal becomes the creation of the system itself. Any ethics or morals or
second thoughts, any questions or muddles or exceptions, all dissolve
into a junky Nike-mind: Just do it. If I just sit here and code, you
think, I can make something run. When the humans come back to talk
changes, I can just run the program. Show them: Here. Look at this. See?
This is not just talk. This runs. Whatever you might say, whatever the
consequences, all you have are words and what I have is this, this thing
I've built, this operational system. Talk all you want, but this thing
here: it works. --E. Ullman, Close to the Machine

Culture is an infinite game.
-J. P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games

The month was May, the year was 2000, and the loss was one of the
largest amounts of money ever caused by a worm in computer history. On
Monday morning in early May, if you had a Windows system running at
work, there was probably a message with the unsuspecting subject "I love
you" in your Outlook mailbox. The message text read "kindly check the
attached love letter coming from me." High as a kite, you would have
opened the mail (unless you were really sure that nobody would send you
a message with that subject, in which case you probably would have
opened the love letter anyway). But what would have followed your click
on the love letter would have made you rapidly come back down to earth:
the attached file love-letter-for-you.txt.vbs was not a love letter at
all, but an internet worm (worms are these little programs that can
self-replicate and spread through the internet very rapidly, usually via
Microsoft Outlook programs). The "I love you"-virus, as it came to be
known, sent itself to each address in your Windows system address book
and dropped an .htm-file and an mIRC (a internet chat application)
script on your computer as alternative ways for self-replication. So in
that week of May, the worm spread rapidly to millions of Windows users,
damaging their systems by changing file types to .vbs-endings and
copying itself each time they would try to execute one of these
'infected' files. By a love letter that had turned into a menace to your
personal (if digital) belongings, these users suddenly got acquainted
with the dark, the vulnerable, and the uncanny side of the 'Web:'
Computer help lines were busy and people were just plainly scared. Yes,
you had been told by computer security experts never to give out your
private address online since 'stalkers' might hunt you in real life
(ironically, of course, 'spyware' finds out your private information for
other companies). But a love letter turning into an evil worm on the
spot-that had been unheard of.

Weiter: http://www.ibiblio.org/nmediac/summer2002/hackers.html