F: But what do you personally think of these methods?
C: First of all, I would like to note something general. People who own computers, and especially hackers are gaining more and more power. The computer networks are one big power-tool, and somehow by mistake, the industries have sold millions of computers to the people. We made them rich by buying those machines, but now we have these weapons. Obviously, they didn't think much when they sold us the tools, because the last thing governments want is 'power to the people'.
Concerning the Dos attacks: All people I know who carry out such attacks do have real hacker abilities. Second is, that those people think about whom they attack and why. So, it's not just stupid script-kiddies who don't know what they're doing. For these people it is one form of resistance amongst others. They also work on free software concerns, cryptography etc. I do not exactly want to promote DDos as the best one, but we do not yet have the 'best one'. It still has to be developped, and it gets developped out of trial and error. The good point about it certainly is, that it attracks a lot of attention, it makes evident where power accumulates and - the executers usually don't get busted. If you do it intelligently, it is very secure. And blocking information access is the best means to disrupt any institution, whether it is military, corporate, or governmental.
F: Let's have a word about the attacks on the e-commerce sites mid february.
C: History repeats itself, as this takes us back to the first instance of a successful DDoS, back in '94 or so against the Mexican government by the Electronic Disturbance Theater which sent port 80 requests for bad pages looking for 'Human_Rights' and such. From a technical point of view the attacks were no surprise, at least not for professionals. The tools to do such things are around for a while, it was just a question of time that someone would use them for a major attack. And as it worked so well, it will certainly be copied.
Interesstingly the attacks came some days after Clinton's proposal to massively expand the budget for electronic law enforcement. This made some smarties detect that the Secret Services themselves must have launched the attacks, in order to create a panic which would make it easier to pass the budget. For me, it is the other way round. If the government cries out for 'alternative wars', for 'cyberterrorism', they should get it. (gespielt bedrohlich): The envisioned 'New and Deadly' threat became true. This was just the beginning.
No, seriuosly: The way the technical infrastructure works today, but also the way how insecurities are handled do not at all ensure a stable working of the internet. And the interesting point is, that the actual stability of the internet is in no relation to the huge values being projected onto it. I think it is quite healthy to shake things a little, and make some bubbles burst! Cyberspace is not secure, and never will be! It doesn't make sense to make a belief-system out of any technology, be it for commercial or power reasons or to improve the world.
F: I would like to switch to another aspect, Clara. You are operating in a dominantly male domain. Does that cause problems for you? Do you have to fight for equal rights? And would you consider yourself as a feminist?
C: Uh! Aehm, that's a hard one. Well, my experience is that most hackers hate feminists. That would be reason enough for me to call my self a femist. In general I'm not a big fan of isms - like hackism - but fact is that we are far away from having equal rights for men and women. That's for sure. The big question is what strategies actually could make sense today.
F: Did you ever hear of cyberfeminism? And what do you think of it?
C: Oh, cyberfeminism seems to be quite funny. These girls tend to be fresh and cheeky, but I would recommend them to get their hands more dirty with technology and transform their rhetoric strategies into technological attacks which would hit much deeper.
F: Do you have a vision? What makes you work?
C: I'm not sure. As the things you love most can easily become the things you hate most, I sometimes have the vision to take down the whole internet - of course with the help of some friends - and then become a musician and a dancer.
Published in artbyte, The Magazin of Digital Culture, New York, Jul-August 2000
This text is related to the project Women Hackers: artwarez.org/projects/womenhackers