June 15, 2011, 1:39 PM — The trolls and crackers at LulzSec – new masters of the market for anarchic entertainment hactivism – is going DJ-at-the-wedding by asking members of the public to request targets for its next source of lulz.
LulzSec The Lulz Boat
Call into 614-LULZSEC and pick a target and we'll obliterate it. Nobody wants to mess with The Lulz Cannon - take aim for us, twitter. #FIRE – 6/14/11 noon, eastern time
By open-sourcing the targeting of random hacks and DDOS attacks, LulzSec is pushing the mainstream Internet experience fully into the world of stateless power politics, cybercrime and often-destructive citizen-activism.
Rebellious individualism is more the default position for netizens than a new phenomenon. LulzSec comes to prominence through doors created by generations of hacker-hobbyists, formalized by free-information organizations like WikiLeaks and used to sometimes historic effect by protesters in Egypt, Syria, Iran, Libya and other venues for Arab Spring political protests.
Of course, it comes to play in a political environment shaped by stateless terror groups like Al Queda, cyberwar attacks like Stuxnet and heavy online international and corporate espionage as practiced most aggressively by China, Russia and organized crime groups with changeable political affiliations.
LulzSec, Anonymous, WikiLeaks and other alternative-power players aren't anywhere near the bloody end of the spectrum occupied by Al Queda and other groups who prefer their terror IRL to CGI.
Still, cyberwar and online espionage, which have been more a cat-and-mouse game among superpowers until recently, have become standard tools for ambitious second-tier power-players such as Iran, whose military and geographic weaknesses are less important in cyberattacks on the big dogs than their ability to exploit security flaws or spear-phish effectively.
Cracks on international institutions like the International Monetary Fund are redefining the dynamics of international power politics to depend as much on the control or access to information as on economic influence or military power.
That dynamic shows a dramatic shift in what real power means internationally. Aircraft carriers, stealth bombers and long-range missiles haven't lost any of their impact. The ability to identify, crack and occupy an enemy's information systems to eavesdrop on its plans and evaluate its abilities has simply risen, dramatically, in importance.