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#OpSingleGateway: Anonymous Takes down Thai Government Websites

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Activist collective Anonymous has launched the #OpSingleGateway campaign in its protest against Thailand’s ruling military government that has proposed a ‘single gateway’ for all international internet traffic coming into the country.

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If enforced, the single internet gateway will serve as a means for the government to control and monitor the flow of internet traffic in the country, effectively infringing on the internet freedom and privacy of its citizens. It’s Thailand’s version of a national firewall, borrowing the idea from China.

Unsurprisingly, the plans to look into the means to implement a national firewall were predominantly kept under wraps with the Thai government being subtle about it. It took a citizen of Thailand, a programmer who goes by the Twitter handle ‘@sikachu’ to discover the government’s new agenda for internet communications while browsing through the government’s website, days after its initial publishing.

The Plan for a Single Internet Gateway

State-run telecommunications company ‘CAT Telecom’ was chosen  by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his cabinet as the authority to control the singular gateway for all internet communications in Thailand.

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The decision followed the original, controversial mandate issued by the Prime Minister and the cabinet to the Ministry of Information and Technology (MICT) to proceed with:

[The] implementation of a single gateway to be used as a device to control inappropriate websites and flow of news information from overseas through the internet system.

In the face of mounting criticism from around the world, the Thai government’s public stance changed, only serving to contradict the original mandate and reign in confusion.

“I have not ordered [the government] to go ahead with this. I merely told them to study it, but there has been some misinterpretation,” said former Thai Army officer and now Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. “Right now, this matter is only under study. There’s nothing.”

The Thai people were not convinced and soon enough, the seeds for discontent and protest were sown.

The Backlash

The world watched as news quickly spread among the Thai people who began to realize the extent to which their government was looking to exert control internet communications. The online opposition movement was finding its roots. Thailand flag

While it has been a month since news of Thailand’s state-controlled internet gateway went viral, a Facebook group of nearly 130,000 members quickly formed as a community, calling themselves the “Anti-CAT Tower Mob” rallied together to target certain Government websites in a coordinated, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack by the numbers.

Also read: Thailand Close to Censoring the Internet with a New National Firewall

Quite simply, thousands of users accessing the internet inundated the targeted websites by visiting them and refreshing the webpage while having the website open, leading to several government websites crashing from the sheer volume of online traffic.

The Thai Police, in response, announced that any users found targeting government websites for cyberattacks could be charged and sentenced to prison time of up to 5 years, taking a page out of Thailand’s Computer Crime Act.

An online petition on Change.org to oppose the Thai government’s plan for a single internet gateway has already garnered over 150,000 signatures.

#OpSingleGateway

Recently, the ‘F5CyberArmy,’ a group comprising of Thai gamers took up the mantle to announce open cyber warfare against the Thai government’s websites.

At this point, Anonymous had firmly set its sights on the Thai government and made an announcement in a Pastebin post.

The statement read:Anon Statement

Anonymous added:

Together we stand against the injustice of your Government, tomorrow you will pay the price of your oppression against your own people.

The CAT Telecom website was the chief target and F5CyberArmy took down multiple websites and breached the CAT website to hack records customer data which, contrary to claims of the country’s Communication Technology Minister, was unencrypted and stored in plain text.

The last two days had multiple Twitter accounts owned by F5CyberArmy and Anonymous members to reveal hacked data, information which the Thai government claimed was encrypted and not breached.

The Government House site and the Labor Ministry websites were down as of yesterday but are seemingly accessible now.

It was only Friday, October 23 that the Thailand Prime Minster demanded the Information and Communication Technology Ministry (ICT), to improve the security infrastructure of government websites to stop hackers from taking them down. That very evening, the F5CyberArmy posted screenshots of their breach CAT Telecom and multiple government websites were down the next day.

#OpsingleGateway is expected to stick around, as plans to implement a single internet gateway are still being spoken about by Thailand’s cabinet ministers.

Images from Shutterstock.

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Alleged FBI Hacker Lauri Love Ordered to US Extradition by UK Home Secretary

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The long-running court saga of Lauri Love, a British hacker and activist accused of compromising and stealing data from the likes of the FBI, NASA and the US Federal Reserve has been ordered by the UK’s home secretary for his extradition to the United States.

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31-year-old Love who has Asperger’s syndrome launched a legal challenge to avoid his extradition to the U.S., following a court ruling by a UK judge in September 2016. Love, who suffers from depression and eczema argued against the extradition ruling, claiming it could lead him to a mental breakdown or suicide. Despite his plea, the ruling district judge, Nina Tempia, determined that Love would be cared for by medical facilities in the United States, while accepting that Love suffered “both physical and mental issues.”

On the other side of the pond, Love potentially faces legal proceedings in three different US jurisdictions, reports the Guardian. Meanwhile, the UK home secretary had been given a deadline of November 16, in order to decide if Love was to be extradited or not. A day before the deadline, Rudd signed the order for Love’s extradition to the US. His lawyers believe he faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted of charges related to hacking.

The UK Home Office stated that Rudd had “carefully considered all relevant matters” before ruling:

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[Love] has been charged with various computer hacking offences which included targeting US military and federal government agencies.

The case drew parallels to that of Gary McKinnon, a British hacker whose extradition to the US was blocked by Theresa May in 2012, as the home secretary at the time.

Love’s legal battle with the ruling garnered support from The Courage Foundation, whose acting director Sarah Harrison stated:

The US has ruthlessly persecuted hackers and digital activists for years, and nobody expects that to improve under President Trump. Theresa May set a good example by protecting Gary McKinnon back in 2012. For a home secretary in her government now to willingly send a brilliant and vulnerable UK citizen to Donald Trump’s America beggars belief.

Love was bailed earlier this year in June when US prosecutors were already doing plenty to extradite him stateside.

Lori’s alleged hacking endeavors were a part of #Oplastresort, an operation by Anonymous, the global hacktivist collective. This particular operation was in response to the treatment endured by Aaron Swartz a prominent programmer and hacktivist. Swartz faced 35 years In prison, asset forfeiture and a million dollars in fines with two counts of wire fraud. Swartz committed suicide for his alleged computer crimes.

Love’s legal defense is certain to bring up the unfortunate series of events that led to Swartz committing suicide under the threat of persecution. Love has 14 days to appeal against Rudd’s order and will almost certainly do so.

Images from YouTube/AP.

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WikiLeaks: Podesta Received E-mails On Extraterrestrial Disclosure

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While most fallout from the Podesta emails has been political, there are extraterrestrial implications for some of the e-mails released by whistleblower source WikiLeaks. 

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An email on behalf of Apollo astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta turned up in the recent data dumps. The email was sent by Rebecca Wright of the Institute of Exoconsciousness. 

Mitchell requested in an email dated July 29, 2014 to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss extraterrestrial disclosure, but was partially rebuffed.

“Fifty years ago Battelle, Brookings and RAND studies on UFOs convinced the government to remove knowledge of the extraterrestrial presence from the citizens of our country. These organizations advised with their best information. However, today much, if not most, of the extraterrestrial reality they examined is known by our citizens,” the e-mail states. “These organizations’ resultant strategies and policies of 50 years ago no longer hold credibility or benefit.” Mitchell says a well-informed public is important to further disclosure. 

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Podesta’s secretary wrote Mitchell saying Mr. Podesta would rather meet alone before arranging a meeting with Obama. A Skype meeting was scheduled for Aug 11, but whether or not the meeting happened is unclear. Mitchell died in February 2016.

According to the leaks, former Blink 182 frontman Tom Delonge emailed John Podesta twice about extraterrestrial beings.

“Things are moving with the project. The novels, films and nonfiction works are blooming and finishing,” DeLonge said in an October 2015 email to Podesta. “I would like to bring two very ‘important’ people out to meet you in DC. I think you will find them very interesting, as they were principal leadership relating to our sensitive topic.” DeLonge emailed again later.

“When Roswell crashed, they shipped it to the laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. General McFasland was in charge of that exact laboratory up to a couple years ago,” DeLonge wrote. “He not only knows what I’m trying to achieve, he helped assemble my advisory team. He’s a very important man.”

Hacked reported in 2015 that DeLonge was working on various ET-related projects, and the former pop-punk superstar, whose 1999 album Enema of the State sold 15 million copies worldwide, has since released books and plans to release a documentary on extra terrestrials.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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12 Hacktivists You Should Know About

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Hacktivism, a phenomenon specific to the digital age, represents the subversive use of computers and computer networks. The term was coined by the Cult of the Dead Cow in 1994.

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Hacktivists represent a broad range of personalities and goals. They’ve recently played a greater role in the collective conscious as cyber attacks at banks and governments become a more regular occurrence.

1. Edward Snowden

President Obama once said of Edward Snowden: “I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.”

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Edward Snowden became notorious after blowing the whistle on mass surveillance in the United States and abroad. It’s been estimated that, since the whistleblowing, Snowden is one of the most powerful figures on Twitter.

2. Aaron Swartz

Aaron_Swartz_4_at_Boston_Wikipedia_Meetup,_2009-08-18American hacktivist Aaron Swartz took part in the development of the web feed format RSS, as well as the organization Creative Commons. A partner in Reddit, he ultimately committed suicide while under federal investigation for data-theft.

Arrested by MIT police on January 6, 2011, Swartz faced breaking-and-entering charges due to installing a computer in an Institute closet to download academic journal articles from JSTOR. Federal prosecutors charged him with two counts wire fraud and eleven violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Swartz faced $1 million in fines and 35 years in prison. Swartz declined a plea bargain under which he would have served six months in federal prison. When prosecution rejected his counteroffer, he was found dead by hanging in his Brooklyn apartment two days later. In June 2013, Swartz was posthumously inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.

3. The Jester

Who The Jester is, nobody knows. He claims responsibility for many, many DoS (Denial of Service) attacks against WikiLeaks, Islamist sites, homophobic sites and the President of Iran. He claims responsibility for developing DoS software, XerXes.

With Wikileaks in the news, almost makes you wonder: Where’s The Jester now?

4. Barrett Brown

Barrett Brown worked closely with Anonymous. The former writer was not a formidable coder or hacker, but he became a marketing figure for the hacking group, including news appearances. Brown has faced numerous charges related to hacking. In January 2015, he was sentenced to 63 months. 

5. Hector Xavier Monsegur (Sabu) 

Sabu co-founded Lulzsec, going onto receiving press attention after a 50-day hacking spurt targeting the likes of the CIA, Fox, Stratfor, and the US Senate and others. Sabu later turned away from hacktivism, becoming an informant for the FBI and working for them for more than ten months. 

6. Jake Davis (Topiary)

This once active member of Anonymous moved onto LulzSec. During a court appearance in 2011, he pleaded guilty to a charge related to a hack on the Serious Organised Crime Agency’s (SOCA) website. Davis ran the LulzSec Twitter account. Details on his computer leaked him to a hack of Sony. 

7. Oxblood Ruffin

Canadian hacker Oxblood Ruffin is the “Foreign Minister” of the Cult of the Dead Cow network, a hacktivist group. Oxblood can often be seen in the media criticizing the actions of Anonymous and LulzSec

8.  Deric Lostutter (KYAnonymous) 

When two members of an Ohio high school football team were charged with the rape of an intoxicated 16-year-old girl, Lostutter helped leak a video of two Ohio high school football players joking about the rape of an intoxicated 16-year-old girl. He faces charges for hacking a fan page of the football team and could face a 10-year prison sentence.

9. Ron Gonggrijp

This Dutch hacker speaks out against surveillance on citizens by governments and the lack of security in public electronic voting systems. He became a well-known teenage hacker and even appeared in the Jan Jacobs’s book Kraken en Computers (Hacking and computers, Veen uitgevers 1985, ISBN 90-204-2651-6) which details the early hacking scene in the Netherlands.  Authorities in the Netherlands and the United States considered him a “major security threat.’

10.  Jacob Appelbaum

Appelbaum, a Cult of the Dead Cow member, is reportedly a key player behind Tor and now an American journalist. He is the co-founder of the San Francisco hackerspace Noisebridge and has worked for kink.com and Greenpeace. Appelbaum was a trusted confidant of NSA’s Edward Snowden and had access to Snowden’s top secret documents during the 2013 global surveillance disclosure. 

11. Gary Mckinnon

Mckinnon is responsible for what’s called the “biggest military computer hack of all time.”  He hacked almost 100 American military and NASA servers in 13 months from 2001 to 2002.  His goal while hacking NASA was to discover evidence of extraterrestrials.

 “A NASA photographic expert said that there was a Building 8 at Johnson Space Center where they regularly airbrushed out images of UFOs from the high-resolution satellite imaging,” he said. “I logged on to NASA and was able to access this department. They had huge, high-resolution images stored in their picture files. They had filtered and unfiltered, or processed and unprocessed, files.” 

12. John McAfee

The 2016 Presidential Candidate, John McAfee, had a run-in with authorities who he claims set him up for murder. He hacked every major computer of Belize government bureaucracies to prove his innocence. He found evidence that implicated officials in corruption, laundering, drug running and murder. He organized his own escape out of Belize to avoid arrest. He recently posted on social media he got into a shootout with police, though this was a joke. 

Featured image from YouTube/The Guardian.

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