The Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) website at mit.edu was hacked today by hacker group LulzSec in response to the death of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who was being prosecuted with the cooperation of M.I.T for illegall downloading over the university’s network and uploading them to the public. Mr. Swartz hung himself in his Brooklyn apartment 10 days ago.
It is not yet clear if it was the registrar educause.edu where the domain name mit.edu is registered that was hacked but that is very probable. This allowed the hackers to change the whois contact details of the domain name mit.edu to show “I got owned” as the administrative contact. This is what the whois of the domain name mit.edu showed briefly today:
Domain Name: MIT.EDU Registrant: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 02139 UNITED STATES Administrative Contact: I got owned Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT Room W92-167, 77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 UNITED STATES (617) 324-1337 firstname.lastname@example.org Technical Contact: OWNED NETWORK OPERATIONS ROOT US DESTROYED, MA 02139-4307 UNITED STATES (617) 253-1337 email@example.com Name Servers: FRED.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM KATE.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM Domain record activated: 23-May-1985 Domain record last updated: 22-Jan-2013 Domain expires: 31-Jul-2013
The hacker group pointed the website to their own webpage with a very long defacing message (found below) that paid a tribute to Aaron Swartz and read “R.I.P. Aaron Swartz”. The defacing message was the text of a blog post from Mr. Swartz’s blog. Here is a screenshot of the mit.edu website during the attack:
After about an hour the MIT website was back up and running and the whois contact details of the domain name were updated.
Lulz Security, commonly abbreviated as LulzSec, is a hacker group that claimed responsibility for several high profile attacks, including the compromise of user accounts from Sony Pictures in 2011. The group also claimed responsibility for taking the CIA website offline.
This is the complete defacing message left at mit.edu website by the LulzSec hackers:
I used to think I was a pretty good person. I certainly didn’t kill people, for example. But then Peter Singer pointed out that animals were conscious and that eating them led them to be killed and that wasn’t all that morally different from killing people after all. So I became a vegetarian. Again I thought I was a pretty good person. But then Arianna Huffington told me that by driving in a car I was pouring toxic fumes into the air and sending money to foreign dictatorships. So I got a bike instead. But then I realized that my bike seat was sewn by children in foreign sweatshops while its tubing was made by mining metals through ripping up the earth. Indeed, any money I spent was likely to go to oppressing people or destroying the planet in one way or another. And if I happen to make money some of it goes to the government which spends it blowing people up in Afghanistan or Iraq.
I thought about just living off of stuff I found in dumpsters, like some friends. That way I wouldn’t be responsible for encouraging its production. But then I realized that some people buy the things they can’t find in dumpsters; if I got to the dumpster and took something before they did, they might buy it instead. The solution seemed clear: I’d have to go off-the-grid and live in a cave, gathering nuts and berries. I’d still probably be exhaling CO2 and using some of the products in the Earth, but probably only in levels that were sustainable.
Perhaps you disagree with me that it’s morally wrong to kill animals or blow up people in Afghanistan. But surely you can imagine that it might be, or at least that someone could think it is. And I think it’s similarly clear that eating a hamburger or paying taxes contributes — in a very small way; perhaps only has the possibility of contributing — to those things. Even if you don’t, everyday life has a million ways that are more direct. Personally, I think it’s wrong that I get to sit at a table and gaily devour while someone else delivers more food to my table and a third person slaves over a stove. Every time I order food, I make them do more carrying and slaving. (Perhaps they get some money in return, but surely they’d prefer it if I just gave them the money.) Again, you may not think this wrong but I hope you can admit the possibility. And it’s obviously my fault.
Off in the cave, I thought I was safe. But then I read Peter Singer’s latest book. He points out that for as little as a quarter, you can save a child’s life. (E.g. for 27 cents you can buy the oral rehydration salts that will save a child from fatal diarrhea.) Perhaps I was killing people after all. I couldn’t morally make money, for the reasons described above. (Although maybe it’s worth helping fund the bombing of children in Afghanistan in order to help save children in Mozambique.) But instead of living in a cave, I could go to Africa and volunteer my time. Of course, if I do that there are a thousand other things I’m not doing. How can I decide which action I take will save the most lives? Even if I take the time to figuring out, that’s time I’m spending on myself instead of saving lives.
It seems impossible to be moral. Not only does everything I do cause great harm, but so does everything I don’t do. Standard accounts of morality assume that it’s difficult, but attainable: don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal. But it seems like living a moral life isn’t even possible. But if morality is unattainable, surely I should simply do the best I can. (Ought implies can, after all.) Peter Singer is a good utilitarian, so perhaps I should try to maximize the good I do for the world. But even this seems like an incredibly onerous standard. I should not just stop eating meat, but animal products altogether. I shouldn’t just stop buying factory-farmed food, I should stop buying altogether. I should take things out of dumpsters other people are unlikely to be searching. I should live someplace where others won’t be disturbed. Of course all this worrying and stress is preventing me from doing any good in the world.
I can hardly take a step without thinking about who it hurts. So I decide not to worry about the bad I might be doing and just focus on doing good — screw the rules. But this doesn’t just apply to the rules inspired by Peter Singer. Waiting in line at the checkout counter is keeping me from my life-saving work (and paying will cost me life-saving money) — better just to shoplift. Lying, cheating, any crime can be similarly justified.
It seems paradoxical: in my quest to do good I’ve justified doing all sorts of bad. Nobody questioned me when I went out and ordered a juicy steak, but when I shoplift soda everyone recoils. Is there sense in following their rules or are they just another example of the world’s pervasive immorality? Have any philosophers considered this question?
R.I.P Aaron Swartz
Hacked by grand wizard of Lulzsec, Sabu
GOD BLESS AMERICA
DOWN WITH ANONYMOUS
reddit sucks, k hacked by aush0k and tibitximer