Anonymous & Hacktivism

Hosted byJimmy Church

Anonymous & Hacktivism

About the show

Filling in for George Noory, guest host Jimmy Church (email) was joined for the entire 4-hour program by former hacker Gregg Housh, who discussed the secret world of hackers and hacktivism, as well as his key role in the hacker collective Anonymous. Housh revealed how the tight-knit culture of the hacker community exists to protect its members who are under constant threat of infiltration by Federal agents. "Even if you're not involved in illegal activities, you might be involved in things that the government does not appreciate, such as helping to make Tor Hidden Services stronger [and] building a better anonymity network," he said. According to Housh, they want to know who is working on those things, and have even actively listened in on his private phone conversations.

"Anonymous doesn't have any goals," he continued, noting the hacktivist group has no central organization, often gets attacked by its own, and can be used by any group for their hacker operations. Most of the people associated with Anonymous are not hackers, Housh disclosed, citing the global hacking movement's fight against MasterCard and PayPal in defense of WikiLeaks, which involved over 60,000 people (or at least that many unique downloads of the tool used against the credit card companies). It takes many skill sets for Anonymous to pull off what it does, including getting the mainstream media to cover it, he explained. Housh described Anonymous' actions as sometimes vigilante, as in their operation to expose the cover-up in the Steubenville rape case.

Housh commented on news of Russia's involvement in the DNC email hack, pointing out while the world's most elite hackers live in that region they likely had nothing to do with the operation. He suggested hackers could have easily broken into Hillary Clinton's private email server, as there is no way to stop talented hackers from breaking into any system. As an example, he called attention to software security firm HBGary, which took hackers only five minutes to breach. "The biggest actual security exploit in any company's network is the human being that gets to use the network," he noted. Housh spoke about problems associated with prosecuting hackers under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as his consulting work on USA Network's Mr. Robot. "What Mr. Robot is showing is as close to real [hacking] as I think you're ever going to see," he said.

News segment guest: Dave Schrader


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