Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The real-life 'Bat Man'

We often see in movies and books of characters that can do everything. They are often mysterious, their past life until that point will be shrouded in obscurity. They would have had a lot of adventures and there's practically nothing they can't do. They can wield any weapon when they have to, they'll be an expert in computer hacking when there's a need for it, they'll be most sought after person by the international organizations, such the FBI/MI5 chasing them and some others, like a distressed police department, seeking their expertise to come off a tight spot. They'll be good with gadgets and technology and more often then not, will be the ladies' man. They'll have the power to topple the world's strongest and greatest powers. When I say all this, what does it remind you of? Perhaps, "My name's Bond - James Bond"?, or probably Iron Man or Bat Man? Sherlock Holmes? But I'm speaking of a real life character. No, not Chuck Norris!

I'm talking of a man who has been in the news for sometime now. He has made the coveted and most secretive organizations like FBI, NSA and all world intelligence organizations stand on their toes. He has been alleged with crimes and been sought extradition from UK to Sweden, not for the one's which has shaken the world. He has established a media which seems to bring out the world's leader's dirtiest and contemptuous deeds of crime, for the benefit of the humanity and to some extend the disbelief of the leaders' stalwarts. His act of exposing the 'respectable' criminals may be for the good because most crimes of war goes unpunished, they are always given the benefit of doubt. Their acts of crime usually are shielded in the name of 'National Security' and 'Top Secret' confidentiality, until their time has passed and taking them to task for their heinous deeds is beyond the reach of the physical world and its judicial system. If you haven't realized about whom I'm rambling about so long by now, then probably you are living in another universe! or perhaps you got it. I'm talking about Julian Assange, the "Editor-in-Chief" and "Spokesperson" of WikiLeaks.

Let's look at some of adventures Julian had. He had been a globe-trotter, he moved to 30 places by the age of 14. At the age of 16, he is already an hacker under the code name 'Mendax'. He has started an underground hacking group called 'International Subversives'. And he laid down these rules for his group: 
1. Don't damage computer system you break into, 
2. Don't change the info in those systems, and 
3. Share information. 
At the age of 20, he was investigated by Australian police for hacking into a company called Nortel. Apparently he had successfully hacked into many big networks including that of Pentagon! He was charged with 31 counts of hacking. Finally, he was pleaded guilty for 25 of the hacking and was released for a fine of  A$2100, after taking into consideration his turbulent childhood.

He then went on to start the first public ISP of Australia in 1993, at the age of 22! He wrote the first open source port scanner: 'Strobe'. He was also an open source programmer and contributer to projects such as PostgresSQL. He helped write a book called Underdog: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier in 1997. He then co-invented 'Rubberhose deniable encryption system' which is incorporated into Linux, and helps to prevent rubber-hose cryptanalysis. A USENET caching software NNTPCache and Surfraw-search-engine were also his creations. At the age of 28, in 1999, he registered the domain "". But according to him, he hadn't started his 'WikiLeaks' then.

From 2003 to 2006, he studied BS from University of Melbourne, along with philosophy and neuroscience. Finally, the WikiLeaks was founded in 2006. He has already created 'Tsunamis' with his WikiLeaks, and US officials has already branded him a "high-tech terrorist". The WikiLeaks has cost him a large fortune, and it is said that he is writing an autobiography to raise funds! In his own words, "I don't want to write this book,but I have to. I have already spent  £200,000 for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat". Well after such publicity he has gained, I'm sure it will be sold more than 'Mein Kampf'.

To set the records right, I just found his life quite intriguing and interesting. Though, it may be good to bring the culprits to their knees, it's not at all ethical to disclose top secret information about countries that has diplomatic and military significance. In the wrongs hands, such information could be lethal for the citizens of the concerned country.


1 comment:

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