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Archive for June 26, 2011

Home Made Mobile Warfare

David has shown me another example of the strict connection between real warfare and mobile warfare come from Afghanistan. Few days after the revelations about the Internet in Suitcase project funded by the Obama Administration and aimed to deploy a “shadow” Internet and an hidden mobile phone network to be used by dissidents, an indipendent, but somehow similar project has been implemented in Afghanistan. It is called FabFi and it is essentially an open-source, FabLab-grown system using common building materials and off-the-shelf electronics to transmit wireless ethernet signals across distances of up to several miles. Said in few words, the main component of this home made network can be built out of trash.

The Afghan city of Jalalabad has built a high-speed DIY Internet network with main components built out of trash found locally. A FabFi node can be buolt out of approximately $60 worth of everyday items such as boards, wires, plastic tubs, and cans that will serve a whole community at once.

SInce January 2009, the Jalalabad FabLab demonstrated the capability of the FabFi system by bringing high-speed internet to a village, hospital, university, and a non-governmental organization in Jalalabad, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. These low-cost, locally-produced networks can be easily spread across isolated villages and towns, placing them in touch with the outside world and facilitating socio-economic development from the ground up.

Jalalabad’s longest link is currently 2.41 miles, between the FabLab and the water tower at the public hospital in Jalalabad, transmitting with a real throughput of 11.5Mbps (compared to 22Mbps ideal-case for a standards compliant off-the-shelf 802.11g router transitting at a distance of only a few feet). The system works consistently through heavy rain, smog and a couple of good sized trees.

The project is important from a double perspective: from a technological point of view it allows high speed connectivity for war zones, or rather zones lacking conventional broadband. From a sociological point of view it confirms the strict relationship between Internet and Democracy, and, (in)directly it also confirms that the Internet is a fundamental weapon for fights in favor of the democracy, what we called the Mobile Warfare.

I could not help noticing, by tweeting with my colleague David:

@cencio4 if you make a parallelism with real warfare, it is like building home made weapons for guerrilla.

And, as a matter of fact, in order to further emphasize the parallelism, he replied:

@paulsparrows that’s exactly what rebels did in Libya with parts of helos on Mad Max-like vehicles

Take the examples of Afghanistan and Libya, invert respectively the terms Internet Connectivity and Weapons, and result is exactly the same.

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Haul Down the Flag!

June 26, 2011 4 comments

Somewhat unexpected after 50 days of, apparently unstoppable chaos, the LulzSec Hacker group decided to haul down the flag of war and navigate to calmer shores, in which they will likely not attack other vessels in the sea of ​​Internet.

The alleged dissolution of the group, leading the cyber-attacks at the CIA, U.S. Senate, Nintendo, Sony, SOCA, NATO and others, was announced in a statement, entitled 50 days of lulz in which the group has taken responsibility for the events, reviving the glory days of the AntiSec Movement, while claiming not to be permanently tied to the identity of LulzSec.

For the past 50 days we’ve been disrupting and exposing corporations, governments, often the general population itself, and quite possibly everything in between, just because we could. All to selflessly entertain others – vanity, fame, recognition, all of these things are shadowed by our desire for that which we all love. The raw, uninterrupted, chaotic thrill of entertainment and anarchy. It’s what we all crave, even the seemingly lifeless politicians and emotionless, middle-aged self-titled failures. You are not failures. You have not blown away. You can get what you want and you are worth having it, believe in yourself.

Probably this decision was also a consequence of the increasing attention attracted by the group, not only by CIA and FBI (which arrested an alleged 19 years old member of the group, Ryan Cleary, whose real involvement however, is yet to be shown), but also by other hackers: @th3j35t3r, @On3iroi, Web Ninjas and Warv0x (who hacked PBS a second time, just to show that “…LulzSec are just a bunch of script kiddies…”. Against those, in the last days, LulzSec was fighting a war with no holds barred, as in a modern cyberversion of a spaghetti western: on one side the so called good guys trying to unmask the identity of the bad guys with IRC logs leakages, DDOS attacks and anti-LulzSec PHP scripts; on the other side the bad guys claiming the futility of enemy attacks, their poor detective capabilities, and also their “horrible coding” (read this pastebin with the LulzSec fixed version of the PHP script used to scan their domains). At this link the possibile identities of the LulzSec members.

As their last goodbye the LulzSec released a final torrent with data taken from AOL, AT&T, NATO & others.

The motivations of the group can be shared or not, but one thing is certain: the ease with which classified information has been leaked should make us think ….

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