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
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-7877
Published: 2014-10-30
Unspecified vulnerability in the kernel in HP HP-UX B.11.31 allows local users to cause a denial of service via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-3051
Published: 2014-10-29
The Internet Service Monitor (ISM) agent in IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager (ITCAM) for Transactions 7.1 and 7.2 before 7.2.0.3 IF28, 7.3 before 7.3.0.1 IF30, and 7.4 before 7.4.0.0 IF18 does not verify X.509 certificates from SSL servers, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof s...

CVE-2014-3668
Published: 2014-10-29
Buffer overflow in the date_from_ISO8601 function in the mkgmtime implementation in libxmlrpc/xmlrpc.c in the XMLRPC extension in PHP before 5.4.34, 5.5.x before 5.5.18, and 5.6.x before 5.6.2 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) via (1) a crafted first argument t...

CVE-2014-3669
Published: 2014-10-29
Integer overflow in the object_custom function in ext/standard/var_unserializer.c in PHP before 5.4.34, 5.5.x before 5.5.18, and 5.6.x before 5.6.2 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via an argument to the unserialize function ...

CVE-2014-3670
Published: 2014-10-29
The exif_ifd_make_value function in exif.c in the EXIF extension in PHP before 5.4.34, 5.5.x before 5.5.18, and 5.6.x before 5.6.2 operates on floating-point arrays incorrectly, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (heap memory corruption and application crash) or possibly exec...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.