FOSCIS Week 11
2015 04 19
- Chapters 1 and 3 of The Coming Swarm. The contents of chapter 2 shall remain a mystery, for some reason.
- The book is copyright 2014.
- The Gist
- Chapter 1 discusses the similarities and differences between DDoS and "classical" civil disobedience techniques.
- Chapter 3 discusses the role of the mass media in the success of a DDoS attack as a political act.
- The Good
- Chapter 3 had some excellent history, most of which I didn't previously know.
- "if the actions taken by activists don't "look like" activism, or the views presented are too outside the mainstream to appeal to viewers - and advertisers - it is likely that these actions will not be covered at all."
- I really liked the bit with "hacker-as-folk-devil."
- The Bad
- Chapter 1 is yet again rife with philosophical and social scientific madness.
- I guess it's common in these "academic" type books, but the constant "as <name> says, <something>" gets a little difficult to read. If your book is just a bundle of other people's work, why did you write a book? This is less of an issue in Chapter 3.
- "Activist DDoS actions and other types of disruptive activism are not random acts of vandalism; they are not simply shouting someone down with nonsensical noise." - I mean, "shouting someone down with nonsensical noise" is kind of the definition of a DDoS attack. I understand what Ms. Sauter means, but it's poorly phrased.
- The Questions
- Are all DDoS attacks political in nature?
- As DDoS mitigation (very slowly) improves, what's the next "online civil disobedience" method of choice?
- I feel like I'm always super negative with these reviews. This week was vastly better than previous weeks, but still wasn't fantastic. My main point of contention is that politically motivated DDoS attacks seem super rare, and even then, the political ties are shaky at best. The most recent Github DDoS was barely political, the Lizard Squad DDoS of PSN / Xbox Live over Christmas was barely political (I vaguely heard them whining about corporate greed or some such nonsense at one point). Getting a good DDoS going is pretty trivial at this point - one can rent time on botnets pretty easily, or even buy "stress testing" services and point them wherever. DDoS is practically commonplace at this point, so they aren't nearly as special or worthy of attention anymore. I think that severely mitigates their political potential. The writing itself was fine, but I find the premise a little flawed.
3/5 <review increments>