Attacks/Breaches
1/14/2013
02:29 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Anonymous Hacks MIT In Aaron Swartz Tribute

Hacktivist group leaves defaced Web page calling for reform of computer crime and intellectual property laws.

In the wake of the suicide of noted developer Aaron Swartz, who faced hacking charges many believed were excessive, hacking group Anonymous defaced a Massachusetts Institute of Technology website to denounce the charges against him and urge computer crime law reform and more support for open access initiatives.

The hacktivist group quoted Swartz's call for open access in the message left on MIT's website: "There is no justice in following unjust laws. It's time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture."

A spokeswoman for MIT confirmed that the university had been subjected to a denial of service attack on Sunday, but didn't immediately answer questions about how two of its servers -- rledev.mit.edu and cogen.mit.edu -- had been compromised.

[ Should DDoS attacks be protected under the First Amendment? Anonymous thinks so. Read more at Anonymous Says DDoS Attacks Like Free Speech. ]

Anonymous characterized its actions as a "little tribute" to Swartz.

Swartz, 26, was found dead on Friday in his Brooklyn, N.Y. apartment, having apparently hung himself. The co-creator of the RSS 1.0 specification, he also helped establish Reddit after his startup Infogami merged with the popular online discussion site. He was widely respected in the Internet community as an advocate for open access to information.

At the time of this death, Swartz faced the prospect of up to 35 years in jail. He was being tried following his 2011 arrest for "computer intrusion, fraud, and data theft" downloading and sharing academic journals from MIT and JSTOR, a non-profit academic archive.

JSTOR reportedly asked the U.S. government not to prosecute Swartz. MIT reportedly failed to do so. On Sunday, MIT president L. Rafael Reif sent an email offering condolences and asking for an internal investigation of Swartz's actions and of MIT's role and decisions following Swartz's activities on the university's network.

Swartz's online supporters have characterized the charges brought against Swartz as "complete garbage."

Swartz's family has responded similarly. "Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy," his family said in a statement. "It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death."

The Justice Department has reportedly withdrawn the charges against Swartz, a standard practice following the death of a defendant. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Recent breaches have tarnished digital certificates, the Web security technology. The new, all-digital Digital Certificates issue of Dark Reading gives five reasons to keep it going. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-9651
Published: 2015-08-28
Buffer overflow in CHICKEN 4.9.0.x before 4.9.0.2, 4.9.x before 4.9.1, and before 5.0 allows attackers to have unspecified impact via a positive START argument to the "substring-index[-ci] procedures."

CVE-2015-1171
Published: 2015-08-28
Stack-based buffer overflow in GSM SIM Utility (aka SIM Card Editor) 6.6 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a long entry in a .sms file.

CVE-2015-2987
Published: 2015-08-28
Type74 ED before 4.0 misuses 128-bit ECB encryption for small files, which makes it easier for attackers to obtain plaintext data via differential cryptanalysis of a file with an original length smaller than 128 bits.

CVE-2015-6266
Published: 2015-08-28
The guest portal in Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) 3300 1.2(0.899) does not restrict access to uploaded HTML documents, which allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information from customized documents via a direct request, aka Bug ID CSCuo78045.

CVE-2015-6267
Published: 2015-08-28
Cisco IOS XE before 2.2.3 on ASR 1000 devices allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (Embedded Services Processor crash) via a crafted L2TP packet, aka Bug IDs CSCsw95722 and CSCsw95496.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Another Black Hat is in the books and Dark Reading was there. Join the editors as they share their top stories, biggest lessons, and best conversations from the premier security conference.