“Hack the Planet” is a phrase from 1995 the movie ‘Hackers’, which was the introduction to the internet for most people. It became a cult classic with a phenomenal soundtrack and the first reference to Hacker culture in the mainstream for Generation X and Y. It was also the first introduction to Angelina Jolie and Johnny Lee Miller for many.
We got dial up internet in my household in 1994, so naturally you would think that would make me a hacker genius, but no. 19 years ago when my relationship with the internet began, I would just waste my time on it not really doing anything productive because there really wasn’t a guide on what to do or how to use the internet-and if there was, I didn’t know or care. 19 years later, it’s still the same, I waste alot of time on the interweb and am generally unproductive on it.
I did use chat rooms and IRC in 1996 to talk to the 2 friends of mine who also had internet. I really only knew how to use the internet basically meaning doing searches on Netscape when the Internet was a giant empty abyss and turning up nothing most of the time. (Hard to believe, but there was very little content or maybe there was little content that interested my preteen self). That being said, the internet, it’s borderlessness and how it has grown as a tool since my introduction to it in 1994 is phenomenal and amazing, which really doesn’t cut it, but those who have been around since the early 90′s understand.
In terms of the internet, my skill can be compared to that of cars; I know how to drive, park and operate a vehicle, but I don’t know how to fix or or how things really work. I would really classify myself as just a regular internet user. I like to surf, upload, watch videos of baby animals and interact with my small communities. I knew some basic html and in 1998 and created myself a shiteous blog. But I don’t know really how to code, I don’t game or do all that fancy stuff. Yup, I’m pretty boring. I am not 1337 . I’m no hacker.
Hackers and hacking culture often get a bad reputation in the media because of the power and knowledge hackers have that most of us don’t to find out things about other internet users (read: serious stalking capabilities) or affecting systems and institutions. It can cause waves in the world and have unintended consequences likeaffecting the Dow Jones. In many instances, it’s about Politics such as the DNS hack on the New York Times for the second time that happened last week or the hacking of a USMC recruiting site. In other cases, these hackers try to find out information about crimes that have been may have been committed.
This technology has social ties in it’s roots and isn’t just easily categorized as just a technological or modern industrial tool.
There are hacktivist groups like Anonymous, who are interesting with their moral compass in assisting cases to find justice for victims of crime and their families. I am happy that they helped with the cases of two Canadian teens, both who committed suicide after being cyber bullied and harassed because they were sexually exploited. The Rehtaeh Parson‘s case where police gave up after being unable to find leads and where Anonymous, in 2 hours found the identities of her rapists who shared pictures of them assaulting her. As well as finding the pedophile harassing Amanda Todd online every time she moved schools, both are amazing example of hacking being put to good use.
In other cases you have internet cowboys and vigilantes with situations that become pandemonium as in the case of Sunil Tripathi, a student who was initially misidentified by Reddit as one of the Boston Bombers who was found dead shortly after.
Either way, we need to govern ourselves. I think if you’re behaving on the internet, you have nothing to worry about. No one will care about you because you’re boring and normal.
All the above being said, I wanted to talk about hacking your own DNS and IP, or Domain Name System and Internet Protocol for those of you who don’t speak Nerd.
I won’t go into the specifics (that’s what Google is for) and because I barely understand it myself. Other than at a very basic level, I like knowing being able to work or use things, I’m not always interested in how they work. I was a History major, not a Comp Sci student or Engi-nerd.
I will say the only reason I wanted to hack my DNS was for multimedia purposes. In a nutshell, it changes your IP’s geo-location to access restricted content from some sources that are Country based. Basically masks or fakes your real IP. Why would I bother and why should you bother? To be specific, American content from Netflix and Hulu Plus (which is not available to Canadians) has much better content than Canadian Netflix, all of which are monthly paid subscriptions for the price of $7.99. It’s alot easier to do and I realized not a lot of people know about it…
There are many DNS forwarding/redirecting/unblocking/masking services out there and some services are monthly or yearly paid subscription as well. However I have been testing a free one called Tunlr which has been reliable at a few different locations other than my home network, such as my parents and a friend’s place.
It is fairly simple to use and their website has easy set up instruction specified for certain devices or operating systems. By easy, I mean very easy as I, the non computer technical genius, have managed to get it on an iPhone, Windows 7, Apple Tv, WD TV and a Wii. If you try it out, let me know what you think. I’ve only been using it for the past week. Make sure to read up on Whitelisting to keep being able accessing US content.
My next post will be a Netflix vs. Hulu Death Battle, so stay tuned for that.
*I will state as a legal disclaimer, that if you use any DNS rerouting service, you do so at your own risk. Read their website thoroughly and make sure you have an antivirus and your network security set up. I would also find out if what you are doing is legal in your own country/area and if activity you are engaging in is legal as well. For example, it is a well known that downloading copyrighted material is not legal in some countries like the USA. It is now possibly illegal in Canada too, and is currently being decided. Whatever you do on the internet, like life- is at your own risk. Somethings may not be completely black and white such as downloading and the interpretation of copyright laws varying from region to region. Where as other things are: such as engaging in child pornography or creating snuff or other sick videos is without a doubt illegal (and disgusting). If you choose engage in such media then you should seek professional help and/or are going to get caught by Anonymous and other such groups who will turn you over to the authorities to be prosecuted. That is all.
*Disclaimer: This nerd DIGS it (The movie Hackers and Tunlr)/nerds Unite!