You’re Being Hacked
by Michael Moynihan, thedailybeast.com
Chris Helgren / ReutersThe Jester has targeted Julian Assange’s controversial WikiLeaks.
Photo by: Chris Helgren / Reuters
Winding through corridors lined with poison-tipped umbrellas, pistols fashioned from lipstick tubes, and bulky button-hole cameras, visitors to Washington’s International Spy Museum will soon be confronted by a modern, quotidian tool of the trade: a small black laptop. According to the computer’s owner, it was employed over a three-year period to briefly knock WikiLeaks offline, disable almost 200 jihadist websites, and develop a handful of sophisticated hacking tools. The laptop, says International Spy Museum executive director Peter Earnest, will “provide historical context to the … world of espionage and the intelligence community, in this instance through the scope of cyberterrorism.”
But the laptop’s owner claims no affiliation with the intelligence community; nor can he, by any traditional definition, be classified as a spy. He’s a freelancer, a “patriotic hacktivist” who goes by the nom de guerre “the Jester”—or, in hacker argot, “th3j35t3r.” Within certain cybercircles, he has achieved mythical status. According to security analyst T.J. O’Connor, the Jester has “proved that a single individual is very capable of waging cyberwar at a level we previously attributed only to intelligence agencies or crime syndicates.”
There exist countless blog posts and Twitter exchanges speculating on the Jester’s identity, but we still know almost nothing about him. He implies that he’s American, says he has a background in computer programming, and explains he was motivated to undertake offensive hacking operations against enemies of the United States after serving in the military. (He claims to have been affiliated with “a rather famous unit” in Afghanistan that was “involved with supporting Special Forces.”) These are, of course, uncheckable assertions.
Chris Miller/Camera Press/ReduxThe popular Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta has become an Anonymous calling card.
Photo by: Chris Miller/Camera Press/Redux
Luke MacGregor/ReutersThe Jester knocked offline the website of Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary
Photo by: Luke MacGregor/Reuters
Oliver Morris/GettyChinese intruders gained access to email accounts on about 50 Times computers.
Photo by: Oliver Morris/Getty
Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi / ReutersAssad has hailed the Syrian Electronic Army as a “virtual army in cyberspace.”
Photo by: Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi / Reuters