Forum Thread: Opinion Friday (I Guess?)

So first off, let me explain why I wanted to write this post.

The first reason is that I really enjoyed Phoenix's "Opinion Tuesday"s, because on the one hand, they introduced new topics to me and on the other hand, they lead to a discussion and exchanges of Point Of Views.

The second reason is that there is a topic I really wanted to discuss to get to know other people's POVs.

The Topic

The topic at hand is the (non-)hack recently done by Andrew "weev" Auernheimer, where he used online printers - without passwords - to print a paper designed by a reader of the neo-nazi blog "Daily Stormer".

Here's how he did it:

In an IRC channel, he was told that many printers were online and unsecured by passwords. Many of them running on Port 9100.

He used this tool - which is able to scan the internet in a matter of minutes, if you have the right rig - to find networks with port 9100 open.

Then he wrote a bash 4-liner to send a postscript file to these ports:

for i in `cat printers`
cat |netcat -q 0 $i 9100

(The whole story from weev's POV can be found here)

Under American law, the act of printing on a public printer is not illegal. So he cannot be faced with charges for that. But the content of the printed page can be interpreted as advertisement for the "Daily Stormer" and if the Judge / Jury has that view, weev is punishable under the Junk Fax law.

My Opinion

When I first read about this, I had a really big smile on my face. As some of you may know, weev sent (publicly available) mail addresses to a hand of american newspapers and for that he had to spend 15 months in prison. I am glad that this didn't stop his enthusiasm for hacking and trolling.

And even though I don't agree with the political views expressed on the page he printed, I am really glad that he used something in that fashion. It is just more effective. A mere "Hello, your printer is publicly available" page would not really upset anyone, but Neo-Nazi propaganda causes an uproar and forces Network Administrators to act. And weev being a troll, he definitely wants to piss off people and he surely reached that goal this time. I am excited to see what that guy is up to next.

Your Opinion

Now I want to know what you think about that.
Would you consider this a hack?
Should weev be charged for what he did?
Do you support such acts or not?

3 Responses

Really it is interesting...although your username leaves little to the imagination.

Unsecured servers pose risks to companies and the IoT. Everything will be exploited in due time, and while these printers are not exactly the most dangerous devices, it is annoying to get spammed with advertisements or fliers. :)

Is this a hack? Undoubtedly. He gained access to a device to which he was not entitled and then used it to do something other than that which it's owner intended.

Should he be charged? I rather suspect this will depend upon the relevant legislation in each of the varying jurisdictions in which his printouts were produced. I think, although I'm not sure, that Germany has some pretty strict legislation relating to the production of far right propaganda.

Do I support such acts? Oh yes! Whilst in no way agreeing with the views of the offensive numptys who produce Daily Stormer, this is, to me, a pretty funny hack, in as much as it will wind up innumerable people. On a more sensible note, it will also highlight the security issues involved and, hopefully, make people more aware of the pitfalls of a networked existence.

Trolling at its best. weev raised awareness in doing this; thus, he should be praised, not punished. There's nothing wrong with printing on open printers. Maybe he would have to reimburse for ink and paper expenses; who knows?

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