I watched the series premiere of Mr. Robot, and it was a strange experience:
My day job is in web security, doing things that are significantly less 1337 than what’s depicted in the show. In my free time, I write about how capitalism is bad on the internet, and also opiate addiction and therapy. I don’t have a Facebook page. I actually do wear a black hoodie at the office. I haven’t had a television for years. I’m that guy, pretty much.
So there’s a TV show with an anti-hero main character based on people like me, on the USA Channel, of all things, and it’s good. It accurately depicts the fact that hacking is about knowing people will consistently display hubris, carelessness, etc. They know how to appeal to the worst in people to get them to cooperate. A lot of exploits don’t work without some level of user cooperation, and that’s all about “social engineering.” Sometimes quiet awkward crazy people understand social reality quite well, despite the lack of social skills. Cognitive overload hyper-vigilance thing. Dude had an abusive childhood. Space cadet. I had to pause and look what was flashing by on the terminal before something really made me say lolwtf. My views about the terrible awfulness of society are presented sympathetically?
The first clue to what this means:
The letters “USA” are in the bottom corner of the screen the whole time, for starters. Presumably the rest of the show isn’t going to be streamed commercial-free? Are things getting bad enough that there’s enough latent discontent that people dare say these things out loud? Did somebody just say “y’know…like The Matrix, but straight from the headlines!”?
As an informant, Monsegur provided the FBI with details enabling the arrest of five other hackers associated with the groups Anonymous, LulzSec and Antisec. The FBI provided its own servers for the hacking to take place. Information Monsegur provided also resulted in the arrest of two UK hackers: James Jeffery and Ryan Cleary.
The FBI attempted to use Monsegur to entrap Nadim Kobeissi, author of the secure communication software Cryptocat, but without success.
Monsegur maintained his pretense until March 6, 2012, even tweeting his “opposition” to the federal government until the very last. The final day’s tweets included, “The feds at this moment are scouring our lives without warrants. Without judges approval. This needs to change. Asap” and “The federal government is run by a bunch of fucking cowards. Don’t give in to these people. Fight back. Stay strong”. On March 6, 2012, the FBI announced the arrests of five male suspects: two from Britain, two from Ireland and one from the U.S.
BRB FBI, amirite? The FBI pwnt them so hard that they were like “I got your data backed up, bitches!” and the FBI was like, “Nah, your dumb ass backed the shit up on fed servers and you helped us hack some peeps on tha down low.” Fuuuuuuuuck.
IRL opsec advice to not get V&, which I did not assist in the creation of whatsoever:
TL;DR: STFU n00b!!!!11111one
I’m guessing all the jailed h4x0rs wanna see moar of this show. Evil Corps made bank on how brave they were!
IRL crypto-anarchist schools y’all:
Did you know that the NSA and the Israelis invented new math to penetrate the Iranians via Windows Update? At first it was like, “Of course Microsoft just gave them the key as part of their patriotic duty and lied about it because they’ll go to jail forever if they don’t and probably have to be naked and alone and freezing.” Apparently Microsoft was innocent! Ha! They completed a legendary quest and solved this problem, but for Microsoft security certificates:
It’s also related to the password cracking in the show.
Of course it’s impossible to draw too many conclusiosn from one episode. In general, the show provides a way to get people that are wavering in their support for society to identify with something that exposes them to commercials. Sell people change fantasies. Mr. Robot is the new Obama. Anarchist cyber-terrorists are edgy. It’s like, “You can’t say that on television” and then you watch more television.
It’s made clear that if you actually resemble the main character, you’re mean to people who are so nice they give you free MDMA and have sex with you. They’re crazy drug addicts, anyway. You’re creepy, all up in people’s shit. It’s creepy, unlike when the NSA does it. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about. Except dorks in some office laughing at your dick pics and porn viewing habits. Because they do. The NSA has the world’s largest collection of child porn. Anonymous people you’ll never meet, who probably make way more money than you, with federal benefits, are allowed to watch your daughter sexting that boy she’s dating. True story. They can neither confirm nor deny what goes on in Utah. Everybody knows all of this, of course. Otherwise the show would be unintelligible.
It seems implausible that he’d color-code the folders for “real” and “lying to the FBI.” I guess he was hella baked and not getting much sleep.
Maybe they were having sex listening to Logic Bomb:
SOMEBODY JUMPED INTO MY COMPUTER SERVER AND TOOK THE INFORMATION OUT!
Hacker music sounds like broken computers, obviously. New No New Age Advanced Ambient Motor Music Machine.
By posting this on the internet, I’m still participating.