Magazine article Newsweek

'Hacktivists' Log on; Police Are on Guard against Threats of Electronic Chaos

Magazine article Newsweek

'Hacktivists' Log on; Police Are on Guard against Threats of Electronic Chaos

Article excerpt

Byline: Sarah Childress

As protesters in New York paint signs and map out marching routes for next week's Republican National Convention, on the other side of the country another kind of protester is working stealthily by the glow of a computer screen. Aided by a young radical computer hacker calling himself CrimethInc, a group of politically active "hacktivists" are plotting to disrupt the convention electronically. CrimethInc and his "Black Hat Hackers Bloc" vow they'll take down Republican Web sites, e-mail servers, phones and fax lines, alter electronic billboards and cause what he calls unspecified "financial disruption."

They don't plan to do it alone. Last week CrimethInc e-mailed a call to arms to hackers across the country, with instructions on causing electronic disruptions. But no sooner did he hit send than his e-mail account was deactivated and he disappeared into the ether. Earlier, by pay phone, CrimethInc told NEWSWEEK, "We don't believe that extremist right-wing groups... have the right to be able to put forth their propaganda." (The New York police computer-crime unit is watching for threats, says spokesman Paul Browne. "Sometimes it's a combination of boasting and planning, but we take it seriously," he says. "We'll take appropriate action if there's any malicious activity.")

A tall guy with tousled hair and wire-rimmed glasses, CrimethInc sees himself as David fighting Goliath. But it's not just Republicans who disagree with him--he's taken the most flak from fellow hacktivists. …

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