Sometimes I like to start my mornings out by reading one of my favorite news aggregation websites, Slashdot. Slashdot is typically for computer geeks in general and UNIX geeks like myself, in particular. One article from Vice really caught my attention. The article is titled, Ohio Has Stopped Kicking Workers Off Unemployment After A Hacker Targeted Its Website. With all credit owed to the article, I developed an insight into modern revolution. With today’s economic engine relying entirely on computers, servers, and networks, revolution is easier than it has ever been.
Revolution, at least in the outset, need not be violent or bloody. Instead, revolution can begin by crippling the infrastructure that capitalism depends on: electronic communications. The situation in Ohio where one single brilliant software engineer wrote a relatively simple script to overwhelm an unemployment fraud reporting website is a prime example. The work of one person allowed tens of thousands of people, if not more, to keep receiving their deserved benefits despite not wanting to return to work and risk death by COVID-19. The move caused Ohio officials to completely reconsider the policy. This worked brilliantly fast. And as quick as the State of Ohio finds a work around, you can bet another brilliant, young software engineer will find another exploit.
The way to bring capitalism to its knees is to attack the vehicle that powers it: the networks, servers, and computers. If we want Microsoft, Google, Apple, Amazon, Tesla, and all of the other bad actors out there to suffer, we are categorically wasting our time by trying for reforms through the political system. The best thing we can do is cause sustained, reputation-damaging, and long-lasting hacking damage to the companies that keep us in wage slavery. The political process, as we have seen in the last 4 years, does not work. Bringing all the major players keeping us in wage slavery to their knees through electronic warfare will force change or watch them lose millions of dollars per minute trying to bring critical infrastructure back up.
Software is very poorly written these days. Instead of making an effort to write quality software, capitalism rushes it to market and then makes money off of expensive support contracts. What this does is present opportunities for hacktivism. In my mind, hacktivism is white hat hacking for the benefit of folks like me that are wage slaves: it is revolution without lives lost. Hacktivism is the exploitation of poorly written software to bring systems down that are designed necessarily to hurt you and me. And I applaud the efforts by anyone doing this.
I personally would love to see somebody perpetrate a hack into Amazon that instantly refunds everybody all of their money for purchases made over one year. Could you imagine the economic damage done to Amazon? A simple piece of software written that exploits some poorly coded part of Amazon’s website could do more economic damage than a single day’s losses on the stock market. If this does not make somebody in poverty smile, I do not know what does. I would certainly be smiling the Amazon shit-eating grin at getting a full year’s purchases refunded. I am even smiling because nobody gets physically hurt or killed in the process.