Leaks, Dumps, and Hacks

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by vrDrew, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. vrDrew, Jul 29, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016

    vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #1
    I'm not a fan of celebrity-chef Guy Fieri. In my personal opinion he seems to represent the absolute worst of both celebrity culture, and a restaurant experience that seems long on promotion, and precious little on actual enjoyable food.

    That said, I would strongly condemn the deliberate torching of one of his restaurants. Even Guy's American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square. No matter my personal feelings about Fieri as a chef and businessperson, the commission of arson is still a crime. Innocent people are, at the very least, going to lose the jobs. And could possibly be injured or killed. And society as a whole will be the loser if criminal vandalism becomes seen as an "acceptable" mode of public protest.

    Criminal vandalism and burglary is what happened to the Democratic National Committee. Their servers were deliberately targeted and broken into by malicious agents, acting - according to most indications - at the behest of the Russian government. And yet I have heard precious little outcry over the break-in and hacking. Instead internet commenters seem to fixate upon the alleged, or perceived, wrong-doings revealed in e-mails in which various staffers express a preference for Hillary Clinton over her opponents. In these people's minds, Hillary Clinton and the DNC are "corrupt" - and thus the criminal hacking is justified, if not completely laudable.

    I think that is a dangerous route to go down.

    Innocent people are being hurt as a result of this illegal hacking. Wealthy donors have had their credit card and social security numbers publicized for the "crime" of having donated to the DNC. (I will note that their names were already publicly available on the Federal Elections Commission website.)

    I was reminded of an excellent Atlantic article by Mark Bowden a few years ago discussing the cases of Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

    There is a difference between a Leak and a Dump: A Leak, is when an insider, aware of a criminal or unethical process or practice taking place inside an organization; decides to make public evidence of the wrong doing. A Leak is usually limited to information that is specific to an act, or acts, that the leaker knows to be wrong. And such information is usually carefully and responsibly reviewed and redacted to protect the privacy and identity of innocent people.

    A Dump, conversely, has none of those protections. It simply drops, wholesale, a vast trove of information onto a publicly available server. It is essentially an internet-enable act of vandalism.

    Bowden makes the argument that while both Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning may have been motivated by concerns over Government actions, for the vast majority they simply had no idea what they were stealing. Bowden contrasts the actions of previous Leakers (notably Mark Felt and Daniel Ellsberg) who knew precisely what information they were releasing, and conducted their "leaking" in such a manner that truly innocent people would be protected.

    We've now moved beyond that. We have now reached a point where criminal outsiders, with no knowledge of any specific crime or wrong doing, simply break into the computer systems of a target, gather all the data they can, and publicly release.

    You might not like Hillary Clinton. You might not like the DNC. But I think regardless of your political opinions, as a matter of principle we ought to condemn any act of cybercrime such as the hacking of the DNC.
     
  2. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #2
    That is quite a stretch to equate hacking with arson. But I shouldn't be surprised since it is a @vrDrew thread.

    So, @vrDrew would you be drawing these false equivilants if it was the RNC servers that were hacked?
     
  3. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #3
    I'm too immature to get past the there is a difference between a leak and a dump line.
     
  4. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #4

    Make it easier for me: Which crimes are "OK" in your eyes?
     
  5. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #5
    Oh God yet ANOTHER thread about THIS by YOU. :p

    Yes, Wikileaks is a bad organization, they illegally aquire information. Proponents of the group, which I am not, would say the corruption they are uncovering is worth the crime they are committing to get the info. But they want a fully transparent govt.

    Some would rather ignore the the info from the DNC hack and sweep it under the rug as it makes your candidate look bad. And really the only thing that made Hillary looked bad was hiring DWS.

    Perhaps the DNC should have used better security AS THEY WERE ADVISED to do (I believe multiple times) in the past.
     
  6. zin macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Number of vrDrew threads hitting the messenger: 4
    Number of vrDrew posts discussing the Democrats' conduct in the leaks: 0
     
  7. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #7
    Answer my question first. Would you be trying to raise such a stink if it was the RNC servers that were hacked?
     
  8. zin macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Is it illegal to acquire in itself? They don't "acquire" the information in the sense of extracting it themselves, nor do they solicit information from any whistleblower. They merely receive it from said party. Is that illegal? A sincere question.

    There does seem to be precedent already in this area.
     
  9. vrDrew, Jul 29, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016

    vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #9


    I think I made that perfectly clear in my paragraph about the hypothetical burning of Guy Fieri's restaurant.

    I would be appalled if hackers broke into the RNC. I would strongly decry the illegal hacking and publication of Donald Trump's tax returns (as apparently some misguided people have offered a bounty to do.)

    Criminal acts are criminal acts. Just because one dislikes or disagrees with the victim does not make them any less so.

    The point of my (apologies) somewhat lengthy post was to point out the dangers to our society and community as a whole if we relish the flavor of the stolen morsel more than condemn the theft that brought it to our table in the first place.

    There is an (arguable) moral and ethical rationale that may, under certain legal and factual circumstances, excuse Leaks. Hacks - and especially Dumps - are far, far less defensible.
     
  10. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #10
    pretty much what he asked you and you deflected, had the RNC been hacked you would be posting a gazillion threads about RNC corruption & facial gestures blah blah blah, but since you can't handle the DNC corruption your deflectors are on full blast.
    .
     
  11. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #11
    I think it's reasonable to assume they have information that is classified or private, and likely not aquired legally. Did they call up the DNC and say "hey someone gave us all your emails"?

    If I broke into your house and stole your MacBook, and then gave it to Drew, and Drew knew it was stolen, wouldn't that make Drew complicit?
     
  12. Khalanad75 macrumors 6502

    Khalanad75

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    #12
    Possession of stolen goods is a crime in which an individual has bought, been given, or acquired stolen goods some other way (other than they themselves having stolen them).

    In many jurisdictions, if an individual has accepted possession of goods or property and knew they were stolen, then the individual is typically charged with a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the stolen goods. If the individual did not know the goods were stolen, then the goods are returned to the owner and the individual is not prosecuted. However, there are often exceptions, due to the difficulty of proving or disproving an individual's knowledge that the goods were stolen.
     
  13. Jess13 Suspended

    Jess13

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    #13
    Let me translate your post: “Welp! Welp! Welp!”

    I’m fairly confident that if the leak was of RNC, exposing [insert righties], you would be happy as heck about it. But, it exposed Hillary and DNC as anti-democracy racists and frauds. Speaking of Guy Fieri, this bbq sauce is awesome.


    brown-sugar-bbq-sauce.jpg
     
  14. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #14
    This is info, not goods. Do you see the difference?

    Actually, since I already know you lack the capability to see the difference. What's the dollar value of the info? What state is it stolen from? What are the laws in that state?
     
  15. zin macrumors 6502

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    #15
    The difference is theft (and later possession) of a MacBook isn't related to publication through a press organisation. The press have First Amendment protections (and precedent seems to suggest that they cannot be held liable for publishing things obtained as a result of criminal actions on the part of a third party). You don't have any protections if you stole my MacBook (if I had one :oops:, which I'm sure I did until you took it :mad:).

    Therefore, I'm not convinced in the slightest that the press ("Wikileaks") is committing a felony by publishing information obtained through the theft of government property (by a third party).

    Edit: Or theft of any property, in this case private property.
     
  16. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #16


    The stealing of the data in the first place is a felony. As you point out, the publication of it is usually going to be accorded First Amendment protections.

    My argument against wikileaks is that the evidence suggests they should no longer be regarded as reliable, and certainly not impartial, source. The mounting evidence suggests that they are being used as tool by the Russian Government.
     
  17. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #17
    We have all heard your syphillitic rankings about the Russian government plenty by now @vrDrew. Do you want to actually discuss the content of the leak at any point?

    And one has to wonder, if wiki leaks truly is a cut-out of the Russian government, why only target the Democrats? If they really want to use it to subvert the USA, why not release hacks of RNC material?
     
  18. zin macrumors 6502

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    #18
    And you can make that argument. However, Wikileaks has a decade-long record of publishing accurate information. You are free to question the publisher and its motives. But that is completely separate to the information itself.

    A further question: the framing of your argument appears to suggest that you believed Wikileaks was reliable and impartial at some point in time, but not now. What has since changed?
     
  19. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #19
    The last week.

    Look, I thought it stunk to high heaven when Julian Assange counseled Edward Snowden to fly to Russia. But Assange's agreeing to do a talk show on Russia Today doesn't suggest he's really about free and impartial journalism. Assange's request for Russian security agents while he was in London. The well-publicized departures of numerous wikileaks staffers. And the decision on the part of wikileaks itself to exercise "editorial" control over which material does, and does not, go up on its site.

    Wikileaks had the opportunity to review the hacked DNC material before they put it up. They had the opportunity to redact or withhold the credit card and social security numbers of donors. They had the opportunity to redact or withhold the thousands of pages of meangless interoffice chit-chat. And just put up the really juicy bits.

    But they didn't.

    They knew damned well where the stuff was coming from. And they did it anyway, knowing that it came from Russian spooks.

    Russia's intelligence organs are the best in the world at dirty tricks. I suspect wikileaks started out as a bona fide attempt to create a new kind of portal for independent citizen journalism. But somewhere along the way the Russians got their hooks into Julian Assange and maybe other people at wikileaks. Because the Russians recognized wikileaks had earned a certain credibility amongst the wests liberals.

    And we got burned by them.
     
  20. zin macrumors 6502

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    #20
    They never tamper with the leaks. This has been their long-standing policy. They don't redact and don't edit. The only control they have is when they go up, if ever, in their entirety. Why would they change this policy now and why are you suddenly against it now they've released DNC emails?

    The question you should be asking is why the DNC stored all of that personal information in plain text format on their servers. Credit cards, social security numbers, full addresses. In plain text.
     
  21. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #21
    Serious question: Are you sure the credit cards & SSNs, were stored as plaintext?

    It might have been naively weak cryptography, which was trivially removed before uploading. I mention this possibility because of the number of times I've seen enterprises do it. E.g. no salting, no hashing, single key, trivial key, or key stored in plaintext on same server as encrypted items.
     
  22. zin macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Yes, Wikileaks confirmed it when people pointed to it. It wasn't an error and they chose not to redact it because their policy is not to edit the leaks. The information was stored in plain text format.
     
  23. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #23
    Thanks.

    I upvoted your reply only because there's no face-palm button. And even if there were, I couldn't possibly click it enough times to register my level of astonishment and disappointment.
     
  24. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #24
    Why did Target and half a dozen other major US corporations allow their credit card data a (literally) millions of people to get stolen by Russian hackers?

    I'm not trying to defend the laxity on the part of the DNC. Inexcusable. But that is very different from saying Hillary Clinton is corrupt or incompetent to serve as President.

    The issue that I'm trying to raise in this thread is that the Wikileaks model is wrong. They should have redacted that data. And I believe (regardless of what Wikileaks charter says) they should have redacted. They didn't. Because they wanted to cause the maximum chaos.

    Wikileaks is dead. They have fatally compromised their illusion of impartiality by hosting material they knew full well was stolen by agents of the Russian government. They released it in a manner and at a time carefully calculated to cause maximum harm to one specific candidate in a democratic election.

    Ask yourself this question: The next time Wikileaks announces they are releasing something, on someone, aren't you immediately going to ask yourself what Vladimir Putin hopes to get out if it?
     
  25. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #25
    I don't think it's an ethically sound argument but if they can skirt around technicalities of the law, then so be it. There is a difference between legal and ethical. Disemminating illegally obtained materials is not ethical in my mind.
     

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