An Interview With An Anarchist Hacker

imageWe’ve reported on the issue of software piracy, and the theft of intellectual property, a number of times. So, it’s easy for me to sum up my position on this contentious matter – there is no justifiable reason to steal software, or the work of others. It is piracy, and it is a CRIME.

The recently released Seventh Annual BSA and IDC Global Software Piracy Study, made the point that “for every $100 worth of legitimate software sold, an additional $75 worth of unlicensed software made its way onto the market.”

Selected findings from this study include:

Commercial value of software theft exceeds $50 billion: the commercial value of unlicensed software put into the market in 2009 totaled $51.4 billion.

Progress on piracy held through the recession: the rate of PC software piracy dropped in nearly half (49%) of the 111 economies studied, remained the same in 34% and rose in 17%.

Piracy continues to rise on a global basis: the worldwide piracy rate increased from 41% in 2008 to 43% in 2009; largely a result of exponential growth in the PC and software markets in higher piracy, fast growing markets such as Brazil, India and China.

It’s obvious then, that intellectual property theft is “big business”, and is unlikely to disappear any time soon. Currently in fact, there is a huge pushback campaign being waged against those organizations who support anti-piracy.

According to PandaLabs, the malware research arm of Panda Security, there is an ongoing offensive, appropriately called “Operation Payback”, which is employing targeted DDoS attacks against various companies and agencies, including the Motion Picture Association of America, and the Recording Industry Association of America, who support the anti-piracy lobby.

The question is – is there support out in the hinterland for this sort of hacking effort? If the following comment, which I picked up on a comment forum, is any indication, the answer is a resounding – YES.

“Big Media is reaping what they sowed and so its hard to find any sympathy for them or any fault in those who have found a way to fight back for much of the highly questionable actions these conglomerates and their law firms have taking these past few years.

The fact that they are unwilling to see how realistic this threat is to them just shows how arrogant or incompetent they are. While they won’t be getting help from me, these grass roots strike back at big media campaigns will find far more support and help on their end then what Big media could ever hope to buy.”

So, how and why, do those who are responsible for “Operation Payback” justify a criminal cyber attack against organizations whose mission is to enforce existing intellectual property rights?

Sean-Paul Correll, a threat researcher with Panda Security, in speaking with some of the organizers of  “Operation Payback” in a Q&A session, has discovered some surprising answers.

Here’s a small taste of Sean-Paul’s Q&A session –

If you were able to resolve this situation, what would you want the respective media authorities of the world to do?

A: Personally, I would want them to basically go the fuck away altogether. Remove the barbaric laws they have lobbied for. Treat people like PEOPLE instead of criminals. Their long outdated traditional views on copyright infringement enforced solely by rich and powerful corporations need to be modified in light of the modern age on the Internet, the Information Age.

Sean-Paul’s full Q&A session makes interesting reading and is available here.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under bots, cybercrime, Interconnectivity, Panda Security, PandaLabs, Personal Perspective, Windows Tips and Tools

7 responses to “An Interview With An Anarchist Hacker

  1. Pingback: Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 30, 2010 « Bill Mullins … | TVs net

  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    I read the full article. These people are a bit creepy. They sound like wannabe internet vigilantes. There are ways and means to get your point across. This isn’t one of them.


    • Hey Mal,

      I suppose there are times when It’s necessary to stand up to bad laws (human rights issues comes to mind), but this is an economic issue. I agree with your point – these guys are creepy.



  3. John

    I can’t say anything because I really don’t know anything but I was raised to not steal. Now no matter if the’re over charging or not if you don’t pay for something that cost money your stealing it….Right? The world were headed into doesn’t seem like that. I think I’m the only one out of my friends who actually pay for a song. With all the torrent files and free media downloads out there it kind of makes me the insane one for paying for a song or CD. When there’s so many people doing the wrong thing, it makes all the people doing the right thing feel like there wrong. So tell you the truth… I’m lost.

    • Hi John,

      I think your statement “if you don’t pay for something that cost money your stealing it”, sums up the issue neatly.

      Thanks for commenting.


  4. I was blogging on the Internet Blacklist scare going on and in my research I read The Pirate Bay Trial on Wikipedia. There was an itemized chart of who they decided was owed money. Not listed were software companies.
    How about one of the most used and disregarded programs we use – WinRAR. How many are just closing their first copy and going on with it for years? Yet to purchase it WHOA 57 bucks? I know there is an economic term that describes this like Oligopoly or what is it? You can by Norton for almost 3 families with 60 bucks at 19 bucks at Price Grabber.

    We are always using the term “going postal” in reference to the disgruntled psycho post office worker, but god forbid some psycho disgruntled software author creates the atomic bomb of the internet because of cheap ass people NOT buying their product…or maybe I have defined the reason for malicious viruses?
    Anarchy in the software business it like performed by hackers possibly named RobbinHood because of the software being so expensive. The mind set here is if you can’t get it TAKE IT. (or give it to the poor).
    Is that destroying the industry or giving to those who would NOT have it in the first place?
    They honor the makers in some manner by wanting it so bad. Only the good stuff gets hacked and pirated. The bad stuff goes on the shelf and forgotten.
    It also challenges YOU the security guy who tries to figure out how the hell did they break that door I made?
    I could sit on my couch content knowing my door holds me and mine in it with little effort. The standard has been molded and it has worked for years. Now if I sit at my desk, damn! I am continiually fighting off all sorts of crap trying to come in. The Virtual World is a harsh and active battlefield.
    Thank you security guys for holding on to your swords so loyally!

    • Hey Bluezy,

      That’s an interesting way to put it “The Virtual World is a harsh and active battlefield.” It definitely is that.

      Thanks for the great comment.