Nepal Government’s official website http://www.nepalgov.gov.np/ has been hacked. A part of group named “Anonymous”-#OpEverest, has claimed responsibility, saying that their aim is to draw attention towards festering lawlessness, corruption and mismanagement in the country. They have also threatened to attack various government and political party websites if the government does not straighten up immediately.
Anonymous is the same group suspected of launching attack on Sony PlayStation network gamers. They have denied any involvement but this post at CNet says that some Anonymous members may have carried out the attack.
So why did this group attack Nepali government’s website? and why they are threatening to attack other government and political websites if their demands ( which are very vague) are not addressed?
After unloading on C K Lal for not embracing new technology and calling him a type writer loving intellectual elite, it feels quite odd to say this but I firmly believe that hacking, cyber attacks are no way to voice dissent.
Some in the technology circle and those outside who see technology as ultimate equalizer see cyber attacks and hacking as legitimate modes of direct citizen action. It appears to be a victim less crime and very tough to trace and prosecute-which adds to the apparent glamour and appeal of hacking and being called a hacker.
A competent hacker is a tech genius. It requires certain level of skill, understanding and mastery to carry out cyber attacks. Thus, a hacker is no fool. They know what they are doing and what is at stake.
This begs the question, why do such smart people engage in an activity which is essentially sophisticated vandalism?
For instance, if four people gang up and attack Nepali government’s headquarters in Kathmandu. In a flash they will be chased down, arrested and prosecuted. No matter their motivation or cause, they will be branded as criminals and treated suitably.
Why then, if the same four come through the modem and not the door, are glorified and glamorized by the popular culture and don’t receive the same harsh treatment?
Hacking, for whatever reason, is not justified. If you have grievances, there are civilized ways to get your message through. Go organize a rally, form a group and launch a campaign, write an op-ed-whatever you can but in a peaceful and respectful manner. By destroying or attacking national installation-physical or electronic, you are committing a crime and that is not excusable.
With all the media attention and adulation from tech enthusiast, it is clear that our society and the world sees hackers in a different light than common criminals. Perhaps this is a case of bias-the educated hackers are treated better than the common criminals who are perceived to be uneducated and disadvantaged. Regardless, any attempt to install hacking as the next great chapter in the people’s struggle should be thoroughly ignored.