What was the victory condition for the Netflix Orange is the New Black extortion hack?

Brief summary: somebody apparently hacked Netflix, got episodes of Orange is the New Black, and threatened to release them online prior to their first viewing in June unless Netflix paid up.  Netflix said no. The episodes were duly released. And, as Forbes pointed out: what, exactly, was the goal here?

Netflix is a streaming service. Nobody pays for individual episodes of Orange is the New Black. In fact, is anyone even watching Orange is the New Black anymore? Perhaps The Dark Overlord imagined hoards of fans canceling their memberships, finally liberated from Netflix’s tyrannical monthly fee, heading in droves to The Pirate Bay to watch ten out of thirteen episodes in low-definition. Finally, the evil overlord Netflix felled by the might of the dark one.



Turns out Mitt Romney was right, and OPM Director Katherine Archuleta was wrong.

Speaking as somebody whose family got personally affected by the OPM hack (21 million and counting): Barack Obama picked an amazing person to run that agency, huh?



Sharyl Attkisson, computer hacking, and the Masters of the Universe.

So. Somebody hacked into the computer of one of CBS’s best-known investigative journalists.

CBS News announced Friday that correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was hacked by “an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions,” confirming Attkisson’s previous revelation of the hacking.

CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair said that a cybersecurity firm hired by CBS News “has determined through forensic analysis” that “Attkisson’s computer was accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions in late 2012.”

One with a history of going after the administration. The report suggest that this wasn’t a script kiddie drive-by and it wasn’t a phishing expedition; whoever did this was after Attkisson’s personal hard drive data, and attempted to cover up the intrusion. So, whodunit?



#rsrh QotD, Oh, Dear God That’s Embarrassing Edition.

So in 2010 the Washington, DC school board challenged hackers to get into their absentee voting system…

Yeah, you, I, and Glenn Reynolds know where this is going.

Anyway, a team from the University of Michigan broke in, replaced all the votes with write-ins for “Bender Bending Rodríguez” (yes, the robot), accessed critical files that would have permitted social engineering and/or wholesale voting fraud, got into the general network to use the security cameras, fended off several other hacking attacks both foreign and domestic, tagged the site with an “Owned!” gif, and programmed the site to play the UofM fight song.  In case you were wondering, this was not a particularly subtle finishing move:

And yet…

Despite all this, the system administrators did not notice anything strange until two days later.

Ah, Dizzy City.  I’d recommend that the portions of it not on the Federal Mall be given back to Maryland and Virginia, except that neither state would take them except at gunpoint.


PCCC/Reddit cofounder Aaron Swartz indicted for mail fraud.

PCCC stands for “Progressive Change Campaign Committee,” which was a group that rose to fame last year for its stellar record in taking progressive campaign cash and turning it into mocking, pathetically broken dreams; Reddit is of course the popular news source that none of you use because the liberals on it will downvote you to death if you try; Aaron Swartz is a co-founder of both, as well as the Executive Director of Demand Progress*; and ‘mail fraud’ is a shorter way of saying “A Harvard University fellow studying ethics has been accused of using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s computer network to steal nearly 5 million academic articles.” Specifically, Swartz is being charged with hacking into and stealing from JSTOR – which is pretty much the source for online academic journal articles.

The AP says that said articles were physically hacked, apparently involving wiring closets being broken into and so forth. How much of that is the AP just wishing that life was more like Mission: Impossible is unclear; but what is clear is that Aaron Swartz – who has one of those resumes that may not be amenable to a standard unpersoning – has been indicted for allegedly ripping off JSTOR and allegedly planning to redistribute them to filesharers. Or, as Demand Progress is currently calling it, “allegedly downloading too many scholarly journal articles from the Web.”

How funny is this? It’s so funny that I’m going to break a rule and link to all of these sites – and Huffington Post, for reasons that are about to be obvious. You see, Reddit is already pushing back on the New York Time’s reporting that Aaron Swartz is a cofounder of their website… which is interesting, because they didn’t seem to care when Swartz claimed that status on both HuffPo and Demand Progress. Oh, and look. Here’s the Wayback Machine, faithfully reproducing an article from 2006 where Alexis Ohanian embraces Swartz as a cofounder! But that was before the mail fraud, of course. (more…)

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