Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dear assholes who took down PSN and Xbox Live on Christmas.

Dear assholes,

I know I've begun on an inflammatory note.  Calling you assholes, I mean.  That's a good way to start a conversation and ensure everything you say gets ignored, but I don't choose the word lightly.  It is my fervent conviction that, in utilizing your technological power and free time to crash Xbox Live and PlayStation Network on Christmas Day, you have established your assholery in no uncertain terms.

In interviews, you've claimed to be motivated by some altruistic purpose.  You believe you're going to teach Microsoft and Sony a lesson about... what?  How to suffer an attack which cannot be defended against?  A DDOS attack exploits the fundamental nature of the Internet - the fact that a server you send a ping to has to listen to it before it determines if it's crap or a real customer - and by sending a deafeningly large number of pings, that server cannot assist their actual customers.  Your members have suggested that if Sony or Microsoft just spent "millions," they could handle attacks like yours - that they have some sort of duty to do this ridiculous thing they wouldn't need to worry about if it weren't for bullies like you - and that's the lesson you're benevolently attempting to impart.
The rest of the world. upon hearing what you've done and why you've done it. immediatley appreciates that you are assholes - but you don't. So you'll probably keep doing it.  But maybe you wouldn't if you empathised with outside perspectives - so let me explain why your actions have proven you to be assholes.  Because you don't have to be assholes. 

1 : For the lulz?  Are you kidding? 
"There was one question on the mind of every gamer this Christmas: Why? Why would anyone ruin Christmas by taking down these gaming networks? The simplest explanation, Lizard Squad told me, was that they did it for the lulz."
The lulz is a good reason to tell a joke.  It's not a good reason to do anything destructive.  Building, creating anything takes work, and the person who knocks it down isn't funny.

No one thinks it's funny.  All they feel is sad for the guy who made the broken thing, and know that the person who threw the brick is an asshole.  If Sony and Microsoft are the kids who spent hours building sand castles on the beach, you are the assholes who walked by and decided to kick them down, because you decided they weren't good enough, despite literally thousands of children and gamers standing around enjoying them.

2 : The term is "bully."

Let's pretend that, in executing this attack,  it actually was your intention to teach Sony and Microsoft something - but this is not how these conversations have a meaningful outcome.  It's not a conversation.  It's just an attack.  Do you really think that, because you announced it a month ago, that makes it okay?  It's not.  The "conversation" you've had with Sony and Microsoft is analogous to this:
"Hey kid, I'm going to beat the shit out of you on Thursday.  You have until then to learn martial arts."

"My mom won't let me learn martial arts."

"If your mom loved you, she'd teach you karate."

(One week later, the kid lies twitching and bloody on the ground, a bat in their attacker's hands.)

"I hope you learned a valuable lesson about how not to get the shit beat out of you."
(Passerby.) "Why did you do that?"
"'Cause it's hilarious!" 
How on Earth have you convinced yourselves that you're the cool people in this scenario?

3 : Seriously, you're bullies. 

"You feel that you have the power to do something," one of the attackers said to BBC.  And that's it, really. You want to convince yourself that you're powerful - but instead of doing something meaningful, you've chosen to take a bat you've found to the Christmas Morning of millions of children across the globe.

I don't know how, or why, that makes you feel powerful.  It certainly doesn't seem big to anyone else.

Countless children's parents gave them their fondest nerdy wish, this Christmas - a new system, under the tree.  One would hope you could empathise with a legion of geeky children, but instead of being able to play it, what they got was your bat in their face.  They got a toy they couldn't play with.

4: Consider the timing. 

You took down Sony's gaming network for a day and inconvenienced their customers.  As chilling as you feel that to be, two weeks prior, the perpetrators of The Sony Hack leaked movies which cost the company multiple millions of dollars, denied them the wide release of a Christmas Day adult comedy (which cost them yet further millions) and earned the company untold levels of public embarrassment as thousands of terribly unprofessional emails were showered across the 'net.

If there's a digital attack Sony is concerned with, at the moment, I can assure you it's not yours. In a manner of speaking, in terms of what cyberterrorism they should be worried about, Sony was already concerned with someone else's ping.

* * *

I hope one day you'll understand that having a bat doesn't mean you should use it on someone - that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.  I hope you learn more and put on a white hat, but for the moment, just appreciate that you're being assholes.

True power creates.  True power speaks, and resonates with that truth.

You're not funny.  You're the bully laughing at the broken nose you've inflicted.

You're assholes.

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