DOJ/FBI “Hacked”

In response to the arrest of seven MegaUpload employees/execs accused of online piracy, the online group Anonymous attacked the public-facing websites of the FBI, DOJ and entertainment industry groups like the RIAA and MPAA.

I italicized attacked for the clarification of news outlets like USA Today, Washington Post, Daily Beast, CBS News, and the New York Post.  I did a quick Google News search, and those outlets all came up on the first set of results with some version of the headline “FBI website hacked by online activists.” I recognize “hack” is a “buzz-y” word, but it’s simply inaccurate – there’s no evidence that the Anonymous group actually hacked into the FBI or DOJ. “Hacking” in this context would mean that they actually got in and accessed something they weren’t supposed to. “Attack” is a much more accurate word – they used a variety of methods to direct a lot of traffic and information to those sites, clogging the servers and preventing legitimate users from accessing the sites.

If you stage a sit-in at a bank, you might prevent people from getting their money that day, but news organizations shouldn’t spice up their headlines by claiming you broke into the vault.  XKCD covered the issue a while back:

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About thinklikeafox

I'm a Naval Officer living in Southern California. I hope to be attending law school in the next year or two, and I started writing this blog out of a desire to improve my writing and critical thinking skills after a couple years outside of academia.
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