Feathered Bastard

Arizona Department of Public Safety Hacked Again, by "Hackers Without Borders"

The officer at the Arizona Department of Public Safety's media line sounded pretty hangdog when I called about the latest hacker attack on DPS's computer system, this time by a LulzSec spin-off calling itself "Hackers Without Borders."

He told me someone will get back to me later once DPS figures out just what's occurred. 

Must be exasperating. These keyboard warriors of the Anti-Security Movement are having their way with Arizona's largest law enforcement agency. And after the now-disbanded group LulzSec released a ton of info gleaned from DPS officers' e-mails last week, this new incarnation is going back for seconds.

Last week's hack was a mixed bag, and offered little in the way of incriminating info about DPS. 

Generally, with some exceptions, the story was of the man-bites-dog variety, showing that basically DPS has been doing its job, monitoring neo-Nazi, minuteman and drug cartel activity.

Nick Martin at HeatCity, and Brenda Norrell at Censored News ferreted out some interesting info, but there were no bombshells, alas. Hell, I even noticed a bulletin on the neo-Nazi Oi Fest from a couple of years ago that referenced one of my blogs warning of the event. 

As far as I'm concerned, DPS should be monitoring and investigating hate groups and criminal enterprises. It's part of what they are there for.

In the press release accompanying the latest dump, the hackers claim they have some juicier stuff this time around. They certainly make it clear that they hate the po-po.

"Yes we're aware that putting the pigs on blast puts risks their safety, those poor defenseless police officers who lock people up for decades, who get away with brutality and torture, who discriminate against people of color, who make and break their own laws as they see fit. 

"We are making sure they experience just a taste of the same kind of violence and terror they dish out on an every day basis. Our advice to you is to quit while you still can and turn on your commanding officers before you end up in our cross hairs next, because we're not stopping until every prisoner is freed and every prison is burned to the ground."

Um, "until every prisoner is freed"? I'm all for access to information, but I do know there are some people in prison who belong there. Yes, there are people there who've been jacked up on bogus charges. But there are stone-cold killers and maniacs in the mix, too. 

I'm not defending all law enforcement. And our criminal justice system is, well, a mess. But I can't go so far as to condemn all law enforcement either.

Moreover, Hackers Without Borders is risking exposing people who give crucial intelligence to the police. From reviewing the files from last week, I happen to know there are some people, not cops, whose names being in the dump might jeopardize their safety and that of their families. These are good people, doing good work to bring some really evil individuals to heel.

And no, they are not snitches. They are legitimate sources.

It's something HWB may want to consider. I don't think hackers are "terrorists." In a strange way, they have their role, and they are taking some big risks themselves in targeting law enforcement in this manner. 

Heck, I wouldn't do it, even if I knew how. These guys are either nuts, have huevos of steel, or just believe themselves invincible. And they obviously know their code.

What is the hacker's role in society? I'll give them this: They are a constant reminder to us all that there are no secrets in this day and age. At least not when it comes to anything involving the Internet. Maybe we should all go back to sending messages via carrier pigeon. That would be safer, for sure.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons

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