Source: Elinor Mills, CNET

In December 1998, a U.S.-based hacker group called Legions of the Underground declared cyberwar on Iraq and China and prepared to protest human rights abuses in those countries by disrupting their Internet access.

About a week later, a coalition of hackers from groups including Cult of the Dead Cow (cDc), L0pht, Chaos Computer Club in Germany, and hacker mags 2600 and Phrack issued a statement condemning the move. “We – the undersigned – strongly oppose any attempt to use the power of hacking to threaten to destroy the information infrastructure of a country, for any reason,” the statement said. “One cannot legitimately hope to improve a nation’s free access to information by working to disable its data networks.”

Legions of the Underground got the message and backed down. The hackers went back to embarrassing Microsoft by exploiting security weaknesses in Windows, partying at DefCon in Las Vegas, and testing the line between white hat and gray hat security as they explored the limits and frontiers of technology.

But the line that was drawn back then is again being crossed.

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