Cory Doctorow Speaks Out About The Coming War On General Purpose Computation

Cory Doctorow, a Canadian blogger/author, at a...

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I don’t know by now if SOPA has already become a household word yet or not, but I think it should have been so.  Nonetheless, not everyone cares what is SOPA since the Internet has always been huge and the word SOPA has yet to deal real damages against their frequent Internet activities.  Of course, SOPA is subtle and so it’s obvious that not everyone would make a big deal out of stomping SOPA at its inception.  Nonetheless, SOPA is a word which ties to a bill which might be passed and affected the Internet as a whole on many levels when not enough bodies scrutinize what will go into the bill.  So, it’s for certain that SOPA is not a word to be jokingly threw around, but it will be threw around nonetheless for whatever purposes there will be.

With SOPA makes headlines as often as it has been, perhaps enough eyeballs and brains are coming to an understanding that it’s something important enough to be addressed and publicized.  Publicizing it enough so even people who have no idea how SOPA would affect them might come to a small degree of understanding that SOPA may create unintentional negative consequences for the general population who regularly visit the Internet for whatever purposes.  Furthermore, some people may come to understand once SOPA becomes law, SOPA will have a high potential in encouraging even more new rules and regulations that have nothing to do with common sense, relatively speaking in regarding to the Internet.  Instead, such rules and regulations might exist so someone would be able to quickly plug each loophole there is one at a time, in regarding to their specific bottom line.

I have an analogy to why SOPA can create a chain reaction of negative consequences, and eventually the chain reaction gets so bad that it might break the Internet altogether.  This analogy would be someone found a leak on a boat made out of wood, and this boat found itself in the middle of the vast ocean.  He or she thought it was a good idea just to have someone quickly stomped on the leaky hole for now.  Eventually, such a measure would not help and so more able bodies had to scoop the rising water out of the boat.  Finally, it was obvious to the captain of the boat that one action which supposed to solve the problem was not really the solution, but it had created a chain reaction of negative consequences which led to an eventual, unsolvable problem at the end.  The boat would sink to the bottom of the deep blue ocean.  The ocean was nice, but the passengers on a sinking boat had not such a notion since they were on the way down to their deaths.

Without enough voices that would speak out against something as SOPA, I think the Internet might not be able to thrive for the small people.  Remember this, the small people are the majority of the Internet users.  Understandably, no matter how noble the purposes that justify the naive existence of a thriving Internet, the Internet will always be a commodity.  Then again, who to say the Internet should only be a commodity but not some other meaningful means that could be really useful and convenient for the small people (i.e., the majority users of the Internet).  After all, without these small people who have been eagerly found themselves to be attracted to the Internet as bees to honey, there won’t be much of the Internet anyway.  Without the worker bees, there won’t be much of a beehive anyway, and the queen bee would not be able to matter much since the population of the bees is basically about to be wiped.  I think a smaller, less interesting, heavy regulated, and insensitive toward small people Internet might not be a hot commodity in the end.

Some people might argue that it’s fine to go back to the old ways of doing things. Unfortunately, once you let the genie out of the bottle, it would be almost impossible to have the genie back inside the bottle.  Majority of people might just go on creating their new little pockets of Internets and circumventing the heavy censored Internet anyway.  Little pockets of new Internets would spring into existences, but none would be better than the original Internet.  Perhaps, things would move forward, but things pertain to the Internets would go on to be scattered, and nothing good would come about to have many disconnected Internets.  Or I could be wrong and good things might come about to have many disconnected Internets for the small people, but the big people might have the worst time in trying to regulate many more disconnected Internets.  Things get expensive for the regulators, and nothing would have stopped the small people from enjoying getting together through the means of Internets.  I can be very wrong though, because such Internets have yet to exist, and I’m just speculating.

Cory Doctorow is one of those people who think SOPA and other insensitive DRMs might not address the problems but might bring about even bigger problems in the end.  It could be that I misunderstood him, but I thought he insinuated the idea of having DRMs for contents would have similar eventual consequence to how the authorities went about the war on drugs, it would go on unending.  Nonetheless, he also pointed out the future of general purpose computer and the free as now Internet might not be viewed in the same category as war on drugs, because these things we care about aren’t the fixes for getting the next bigger, better high; instead, these things are excellent at bringing people together for whatever purposes, and nothing which came before now was able to do the same.  Therefore, we might not want to view waging wars against insensitive Internet censorships that have had many gripes against small people (i.e., the majority users of the Internet) as to how we have viewed the war on drugs.  Check out Cory Doctorow’s speech right after the break.

Source:  http://boingboing.net/2011/12/27/the-coming-war-on-general-purp.html

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With The Release Of Reaver, Now Anyone Can Exploit Wi-Fi Protected Setup Flaw Freely; Reaver Releases As Open Source Software

English: Internet wireless router

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Just recently, I had touched on how easy it’s for hackers to exploit and acquire PINs from routers that have Wi-Fi Protected Setup feature enabled (Wi-Fi Protected Setup PIN Method Has Flaw, Allowing Hackers To Deploy Brute Force Attack For Valid PIN Number In Lesser Time Than Before), because there has always been a flaw which associates with this particular feature, consequently allowing hackers to deploy brute force attacks and correctly guess PINs in less time than ever before.  It’s not a surprised for us to see someone has already had a tool which could hack a router for Wi-Fi Protected Setup PIN.  In fact, someone is releasing such a tool to the public already.  So, in a way, we can say once the exploits are known, smart hackers who write their own codes usually can come up with new tools to penetrate the flaws of most computer systems.  In this case, it’s no different, because the folks at Tactical Network Solutions has had such a tool known as Reaver which they probably use to do their own penetration tests on their own networks and clients, as a way to stay ahead of the curve so they can prevent their own networks and clients from being hacked.

Since the Wi-Fi Protected Setup exploit has been discussed publicly, the folks at Tactical Network Solutions are now releasing Reaver to the open source community, and this means anyone can download it and start using it.  Of course, like any tool, bad people can use it to break into other people’s networks, or good people can use it to do penetration tests on their own networks so they will know how resilient their networks would be against certain hack attacks.  The folks at Tactical Network Solutions also release Reaver as a commercial version which they claim it would be even more feature rich than the open source version.

Basically, once Reaver allows the hackers to attain the correct Wi-Fi Protected Setup PINs, the hackers can further more use Reaver to recover WPA/WPA2 passphrase in 4 to 10 hours range.  As long the owners of the routers/networks aren’t yet disabling Wi-Fi Protected Setup feature, no matter if the owners change their WPA/WPA2 passphrase to anything, the hackers will always be able to recover WPA/WPA2 passphrase using Reaver.  This is quite serious, because Reaver is just a tool where anyone can download and use freely.  So, if the manufacturers of most routers aren’t going to patch the flaw, then it’s really up to the users of such routers to disable the Wi-Fi Protected Setup feature.

It seems to me that the folks at Tactical Network Solutions suggest that once hackers guess the Wi-Fi Protected Setup PINs correctly, hackers can take control of the routers.  Worse, I think hackers can also insert themselves into the middle of the compromised networks to listen and sniffing and recording, consequently reading the network traffics for plain text data.  Of course, they can also read the encrypted data in encrypted form only, but hackers who have the will to decrypt the encrypted data might also have tools that allow them to decrypt encrypted data in time.

In summary, if your router hasn’t yet had Wi-Fi Protected Setup feature disabled, it’s currently an easy target for just about anyone who has the will to download Reaver and use it for hacking your router.  Usually, if someone hacks your router, they might have an even more insidious intention than just stealing your bandwidth.  Perhaps, they might use your bandwidth to do some serious hacking against some big corporations, and you would be the one to take the blame.  After all, once the hackers done with what they had to do, they could always clean up their trails and leave almost no trace of theirs behind.  The authorities would have a hard time to believe your story as in “It wasn’t me,” kind of thing.  So, I recommend you to turn off Wi-Fi Protected Setup feature at all cost and wait till the manufacturer who produces your router to come up with a patch that can address this particular exploit.

Sources:  https://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/attack-tool-released-wps-pin-vulnerability-122911,
http://www.tacnetsol.com/news/2011/12/28/cracking-wifi-protected-setup-with-reaver.html,
http://code.google.com/p/reaver-wps/

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