The Villain of the Story

Much has been written about “hackers”, self-described cyber-vigilantes like these guys— cynics and anarchists, self-styled to follow V, and not realizing that V at the end of the story gave his life that a new V— one who wasn’t an anarchist needed to be born. The modus operandi of these self-styled hooligans seem of course focused on proving one alleged ability. Create mayhem, disruption for the sake of mayhem and destruction under the guise of “helping the masses”. Here’s your chance to call the president! to make your issues known! As if there weren’t avenues to talk to the President on the media, on blogs, on Facebook, on twitter. As if, we have a president who tramples on all these. As if, actions like these don’t force governments to create weapons or to find ways to use PRISM.

Actions like these are uncalled for. And only wish to seek attention. Something, Hackers don’t really crave. What these so called hackers are doing is a far cry from the ethical foundations set forth in The Manifesto of old, where hackers hack because it was a way to learn; to go beyond the petty limitations of society.

See, these are not the kind of “hackers”, and “hacks” that should be honored. Real hackers scratch an itch so bad that they can’t stop thinking about it. The itch is so compelling you can’t stop thinking about it. Real hackers are idealists, and dreamers. Hackers build. And it doesn’t matter if it was C or hacking DNA!

Other professions can relate to this. Artists, lawyers, engineers, scientists, journalists, politicians and others can relate to that itch like this unknown mathematician who proved the elusive property of prime numbers. He was just an ordinary guy who even worked from a Subway sandwich shop.

The real hackers we should be praising are guys like these from Davao. The Pagesnapp guys bested 40 teams and they get to pitch before angel investors in Silicon Valley.

The people who we should be praising and finding are guys like these who, without coding experience are trying to save some languages from going extinct. Think of what things like this could be done to our own dialects and languages!

Hacking is a humble quality. It isn’t about proving how smart you are. It isn’t about mayhem. It rarely is about protest. It isn’t about proving you can find stuff. It is one that comes from solving real world problems. Real hackers scratch an itch so compelling you can’t stop thinking about it. It rarely is even about protest. Otherwise you’re the bully. You’re the Villain in the story.

De Venecia: Only 30 hackers needed to rig automated polls

De Venecia: Only 30 hackers needed to rig automated polls
By Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer

SAN CARLOS CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines — Is it really difficult to manipulate the results of the first-ever automated elections in the Philippines, as the Commission on Elections insists?

Comelec information chief James Jimenez and Smartmatic officials during a talk with Inquirer editors on Tuesday night, claimed it would be difficult to monkey around with the count in the PCOS machines because each machine would have its own code of protection and poll observers could, at any time of the counting, check on the results transmitted by one machine and compare that with the tallies being sent to the municipal, provincial and national centers. They added that any tampering with the results of any machine would surely leave a trace.

But Jose “Joey” De Venecia III, a self-proclaimed IT expert running in the senatorial race is convinced that one need not be a rocket scientist to maneuver the outcome—and some 30 people can do the job.

He said this lean group of operators would be enough to rig votes in about 20 percent of precincts around the country on May 10.

“A handful (of people) can do it,” De Venecia, who belongs to former President Joseph Estrada’s ticket, told reporters on Tuesday here.

“You just need a computer guy to be able to do it remotely. You can hack into (the system). They can hack into the servers of the Comelec.”

Estrada warned of a political chaos in the event that the automated elections failed.

“I’m … sure there would be violence, there would be a revolution because the people have been yearning for an election,” he said.

De Venecia said cheating could be done by setting up what he called a “rogue terminal” or a computer configured to look like the official PCOS machines made available by Smartmatic-TIM Corp.

“It can transmit anything,” said the candidate, who blew the whistle on overpricing and kickbacks in the $329-million National Broadband Network project in 2008 after his company failed to land the deal.

De Venecia said any extra space in the memory card of any PCOS machine could also be used to add votes favorable to a certain candidate.

“They can play with that,” he said.

De Venecia was not too optimistic about the success of the elections, pointing out that it once took him one year to automate a bank.

“We take a lot of risks here,” he said. “(Cheating is) a lot easier than manual (voting). This is all electronic.”