|=-----------------------------------------------------------------------=| |=--------------------=[ The Fall of Hacker Groups ]=--------------------=| |=-----------------------------------------------------------------------=| |=--------------=[ Strauss <strauss@REMOVEME.phrack.org> ]=--------------=| |=-----------------------------------------------------------------------=| --[ Contents 1 - Introduction 2 - Background 3 - Nowadays 4 - Conclusion 5 - Shouts 6 - Bibliography 7 - Notes --[ 1 - Introduction The earlier, bigger part of hacking history often had congregations as protagonists. From CCC in the early 80s to TESO in the 2000s, through LoD, MoD, cDc, L0pht, and the many other sung and unsung teams of hacker heroes, our culture was created, shaped, and immortalized by their articles, tools, and actions. This article discusses why recently we do not see many hacker groups anymore, and why the ones we do, such as Anonymous and its satellite efforts, do not succeed in having the same cultural impact as their forefathers. --[ 2 - Background Hacking is, in its very essence, an underground movement. Those who take part on it have always been the ones who (ab)used technology in ways beyond the knowledge of the larger userbase. It is tightly linked to intense efforts in unveiling previously unknown information as well as in sharing these discoveries. These premises hold true for as long as we know hackers: since computers had barely no users up until the informatic massification of today. The nature of the hacker interests intrinsically poses difficulties: growing knowledge on anything is hard. It requires heavy research, experimentation, and can turn into an endless journey if objectives are not carefully set. Just like in any field of scientific studies, it calls for a good amount of colaboration, an attitude which, luckily for hackers, was greatly enabled by the advent of computer networks and, most notably, the Internet. Computer networks increasingly made it possible to transmit unlimited and uncensored information across their geographical extent with little effort, with little costs, and in virtually no time. From the communication development standpoint, one would expect that the events that followed the 80s to our days would lead to a geometric progression in the number of hacker communities. In effect, hacking has arguably grown. Hacker communities, definitely not. So what went wrong? --[ 3 - Nowadays We live in days of limited creativity. Moreover, as contraditory as it may seem, it looks particularly rare for creativity to arise from groups or teams. Communities, rather than individuals, should be more intellectually empowered to create, but lately we have been watching the force of the solo, the age of the ego. That, of course, when we do see anything that catches our attention for originality, which is an ever scarcer pleasure. In "Time Wars" , Mark Fisher explains that post-fordism has taken us to this catatonic inability to innovate. Our nearly obsessive compulsion for work consumes not only our time, in the literal form of labor hours, but our minds, by distracting us from everything else we could be doing otherwise. These distractions include our unceasing connection to ubiquous media (e.g. the frequent checks for new e-mail, or accesses to social networks on mobile devices) as well as an increased concern with financial stability and provisioning, a concern that grows as welfare is invariably trimmed by both the governments and the private sector. It is important to note that our capitalist worries are more deeply rooted in us than might seem at first, even in the most politically diverse people. Supporting oneself is not easy, it does not come for free. Getting some education, finding a job, staying up-to-date... regardless of what your aspirations are, whatever you feel obliged to do is probably a lot, already. And it likely involves a prevalence of "minding your own business". The unsettlement created in our thoughts affects intellectual solidarity in even more severe ways than it does individual creation. Simply put, if it is already so difficult for one person to focus away from these "distractions" and into inspired productivity, let alone for a group to join in a true collective mind. The ties that bind collective-minded parties together take dedication to build, and our egotistical concerns do not help (see note "A"). Not only is commitment required for the actual work to be accomplished, but also to identify the shared values and goals that enable true human connectivity. Notice this does not concern _collaboration_ as much as it does _collectiveness_. Collaboration typically breaks down the creative process in a way it can be incrementally achieved with very self-sufficient, individualistic contributions. Such is the case in most open-source software projects. Roles are very well segregated so that a minimum of human integration is required, as far as most modern software development processes go, anyway. A true "hive mind"  cannot exist without the support from a stronger, more unisonant cognitive bond. Funny enough, the popular variants of LOIC, the DDoS tool used by "Anonymous", contain a "hive mind" feature (i.e. getting a target automatically from a given IRC server and channel and firing your packets against it). You wish it was that easy. The concept of the "conscience collective" was first established by Emile Durkheim who, in his 1893 book "The Division of Labor in Society", expressed 'that the more primitive societies are, the more resemblances (particularly as reflected in primitive religion) there are among the individuals who compose them; inversely, the more civilized a people, the more easily distinguishable its individual members', as put by R. Alun Jones . Well, following (or despite) the prosperous adoption of atheism and agnosticism as professed in the Internet and other popular media, it is understood that religious beliefs are in a low, taking a bit of what socities traditionally saw as a point of unity. In fact, there seems to be an ever growing search for uniqueness in the modern man, especially that from the apparently overpopulated metropolises (see note "B"). In this never-ending crowd of interesting, outstanding personas, we want to shine somehow, to prove ourselves different and original. In the end, it turns into a pointless battle, against God-knows-who, for apparent singularity. Instead of reaching for the fellow man, we want to set ourselves apart, and thus, remarkable. --[ 4 - Conclusion Modern life nearly conspires against the collective. We are tormented by a relentless flow of information as well as the daily worries of an eternally insecure, unwarranted life. Furthermore, we dread the thought of being alike, of sharing multiple views and opinions. As such, we are turning progressively judgemental of who we should be partnering with, on the basis that "they do not understand". In hacking, it yet implicates on the delicate subject of trust, which would require an essay on itself, given the undeniable importance the matter has acquired over the years. If our thoughts on creating hacker groups were to be summarized, this is how they would look: No one ever feels like we do. They are not to be trusted and we do not have the time for them. The only attitude consonant to our search for a comfortable, safe life is to constrain ourselves to our own limitations, ignore the intelligent life out there, and surrender to the mediocracy that our society has condemned our leisure time to. --[ 5 - Shouts My only acknowledgements go to whoever reads this through and puts his/her thoughts to it. I eagerly await for your comments. --[ 6 - Bibliography 1 - "Time Wars", Mark Fisher - (pagina’s niet in het hoofdmenu) | Gonzo (circus) | Muziek.Kunst.Meer. incubate-special-exclusive-essay-time-wars-by-mark-fisher/ 2 - "Collective Consciousness", Wikipedia - Collective consciousness - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 3 - Excerpt of "Emile Durkheim: An Introduction to Four Major Works", Robert Alun Jones - The Division of Labor in Society (1893) --[ 7 - Notes A) In respect to social networks, while they are a valid community-building mechanism in nature, selfishness prevails in common usage, by means of the indulgent pleasure that fuels chronic "pluggedness", at times voyeur, at times exhibitionist and needy. It is arguably the case, though, that the globalizing aspect of the Internet has brought the feeling of upsetting commonality to the citizens of even the more unpopulated places. Un articol interesant.