Editorial

Hackers to force an internet ID? All signs point that way...

Internet IDs are a scary thing to think about. It sounds a bit like a Big Brother scenario where someone is watching your every move online at any time. All your Google searches, Facebook status updates, downloaded files and even watched porn could easily be accounted for through a simple number. Think of the huge database people could accumulate from a single user’s browsing habits. Not a nice thing to think of.

Unfortunately, the internet ID is taking steps in our direction every time a hacker takes vengeance against a company. Sony has seen a record amount of attacks in the past month with no name or face to place the blame on, and not only is Sony annoyed to the point of a $172m loss due to it, so are the authorities as they painfully search to identify the perpetrator. The search not only costs the government money, it also takes so long that by the time the person is discovered they have hidden themselves so far into the bowels of the internet there is no hope for a trial.

So what will people end up saying if these attacks continue in such force? An internet ID! Of course! That’ll mean every single person is accountable for. Brilliant. No hope for any hacker to escape the grasp of the authoritarian system that binds everyone to the internet through a number. That is if they don’t end up hacking the system to get past it, or simply live outside the ID zone, something that surely is within their capabilities if they can steal the identity of 100 million people.

Don’t even think of the devastation that could occur if a hacker managed to obtain all this information straight out of the internet ID database. Easy identity theft, anyone? Not to mention ads that are specifically targeted to you down to knowing when your shampoo is about to run out. It sounds fictional (it even is, just watch Minority Report), but with an internet ID forced upon us it could easily become a reality as quickly as hackers can steal a database.

Governments are unfortunately quick to assume a watchdog is needed on everyone to ensure the smooth running of society, especially when countries such as the United States already have a social security number in place. With an internet ID system, a government would easily be able to put an IP address to a name, home address, phone number and more within seconds, easily allowing for authorities to apprehend internet abusers within their jurisdiction. Everyone accountable for; sounds good at first, arresting the hackers that DDoS PayPal and shut down the PSN, but your online privacy would be a thing of the past.

Or alternatively super-autocratic governments like Iran will shut down the internet completely, establishing a state controlled “world-wide web” to prevent any outside knowledge, leaking of state secrets or general hacker shenanigans. Luckily anyone in a Western society is effectively immune from such ridiculous actions due to civil rights and the uproar that would ensue, although a country like Iran is unfortunately without that sort of power. Of course having next-to-no internet is worse than an internet ID, but both are a possible effect of hackers and something that would have grave consequences.

And to think that someone else’s illegal actions could cause a mass loss of internet privacy across the board is simply infuriating. 99% of people are not hackers, not mass pirates, not child molesters, yet they will have to suffer as someone looks over their internet history to check for a step out of line. It may even be preferable to have your details hacked from a Sony database than to have some bureaucrat scan over your every online move.

Could someone, somewhere find out about your secret love affair? Yes. Could someone check who’s downloading that album? Yes. Could someone know about your hidden fetish? Probably. Will it stop hackers? Not likely. Too bad an internet ID looks so good in the eyes of the government.

Image source: Fanpop!

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i am sure this has been said here already but i will say it too... these easy solutions aren't gonna stop ****. policy makers need to be told somehow about how much work went into hacking sony and how little work would be required to bypass any ID they tag at the end of our IPs.

This is the worst idea ever. No way they could make it mandatory for every person on the PLANET< and a hacker will just do their **** without using an ID> so all the normal people get tracked but it does **** to the "intended" targets. fail

i know the solution..why don't these mega corporations quit crapping on the little guys every chance they get and maybe they would'nt **** them off and give them a reasn to hack anyways. damn capitalism is driving the world to a firey end.

I've been trying my hardest not to reply to this as my sides still hurt from laughing so much, but here goes anyway...

The whole Internet ID thing is not going to work, it'll just allow for blame to be placed more easily. As soon as the Internet ID gets rolled out, we'll have several hackers just take on and forge the ID of Obama's Internet ID and do stupid hacks for the lolz just to prove a point.

And then we'll also have lots of forged IDs with innocent people being accused of things they've not done due to Internet ID cloning or what ever term they come up.

I've personally had my ID messed up in real life by a simple mistake on national insurance records and the amount of issues I had then trying to fix a mistake that wasn't me, because of course the computers are always right and even with my documents right in front of me, people wouldn't accept who I was. It was very strange, I can only imagin how shockingly bad it would be to prove who you were and actions you've NOT done if your "Internet ID" was stolen.

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Three guesses as to which side Neowin will be on.

Know thy enemy.

Windsinger said,
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Three guesses as to which side Neowin will be on.

Know thy enemy.

In Biblical terms, I would be much more worried over NFC (Near Field Communication) technology than Internet ID. NFC will allow you to make payments by waving your phone near a scanner instead of using cash or cards. Its just a chip in the phone that you hold in your hand or possibly on your head (Bluetooth). If NFC really takes off, how long do you think it will be before they start pushing the case for implanting NFC chips under our skin? Afterall, phones and gadgets can be stolen.

The main problem is not if the system will work or not perfectly but who will implement the system. Let's say that IBM is who is in charge of the system then, they can change and create new identities at will, they even can fake identities of competitors.

Whose idiot idea is this? It will never actually work. Its like copy protection, it only keeps out honest people........

Authentic X said,
The title should be,US Government hires hackers to force internet ID.I guess its time for me to say **** the inet.

Was thinking the same. Its a bit obvious but maybe thats the cover they went for.

Authentic X said,
The title should be,US Government hires hackers to force internet ID.I guess its time for me to say **** the inet.
Don't forget about 9/11... its all a conspiracy.

/facepalm

Not a good idea to have all the information in a centralized place. This database would be the major target for hackers. Why hacked account by account when you could get everything in a nice single package?

Once in a security class, the Professor said " never underestimate dedicated people with a lot of free time".

I read the CNET article linked at the end of this one. I fail to see the relation between the two. The ID system the govt is proposing is for logging in and using govt services such as filing taxes and applying for passports. The ID would not be necessary to log on to the Internet and it wouldn't be tracking anything that the govt wouldn't already know about.

Oh noes! The govt will be able to track how much of a tax refund I get! And they can deposit the money directly into my bank account! Eek!

AltoidBox said,
I read the CNET article linked at the end of this one. I fail to see the relation between the two. The ID system the govt is proposing is for logging in and using govt services such as filing taxes and applying for passports. The ID would not be necessary to log on to the Internet and it wouldn't be tracking anything that the govt wouldn't already know about.

Oh noes! The govt will be able to track how much of a tax refund I get! And they can deposit the money directly into my bank account! Eek!

That's what I got out of it as well, and this has been discussed for some time now. However, it is fun watching the tinfoil hat people run around in circles in panic.

right. Not because the goverment want to know EVERYTHING and because the big companies are making lobbie with this, pressing and FORCING the goverment to take EVERYTHING from the costumers. Its because the hackers, a bunch of maybe 200, 500 as much?. In the WHOLE WORLD?. And making this would cost the privacy of EVERYONE!. Billions.
****ING DIE OBAMA!

Gutierrez said,
right. Not because the goverment want to know EVERYTHING and because the big companies are making lobbie with this, pressing and FORCING the goverment to take EVERYTHING from the costumers. Its because the hackers, a bunch of maybe 200, 500 as much?. In the WHOLE WORLD?. And making this would cost the privacy of EVERYONE!. Billions.
****ING DIE OBAMA!

wut

Gutierrez said,
hackers, a bunch of maybe 200, 500 as much?. In the WHOLE WORLD?.

Try 1000s. Have you ever been to a hacker convention? Every nation has 'em and every nation has thousands of attendees. Plus, greed always changes the colour of the hat.

dotf said,

Try 1000s. Have you ever been to a hacker convention? Every nation has 'em and every nation has thousands of attendees. Plus, greed always changes the colour of the hat.


I beg to differ...
Most of them are white hacking conventions.

Lord...

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

I beg to differ...
Most of them are white hacking conventions.

Lord...

GS:mac


doesnt mean many arent black hat hackers. white hat hackers are a thing from the past, they used to be with many... nowadays there are so much more black hatters out there. its becomming a big liability for companies, governments and individual people to keep the internet as it is now. I for one am completely for a free and open internet. But if this internet ID is worked out properly for example, only governments can access the data or even see the data in any case. If they try hard enough, they know everything about you already anyways, so nothing will change there.

im sick of seing thousands of hacking attempts a day, 1 or 2 DDoS attacks a year (because some skiddie got ****ed off for getting banned) and the numerous attempts of just flooding the network. Every person can single handedly take down entire networks without breaking a sweat nowadays. This 'power' of the internet is beeing abused by to many people recently.

Hackers have nothing to do with it.. It is this commie leader we have now in this country.. He talked about this years ago.

How fitting, given your avatar. Yes, Obama is a commie. The commies won the cold war, and now we're all part of communism. And this is them trying to keep the little guy away from democracy.

Actually, the first and last sentence of that could be true if I phrased the last sentence a bit more rationally...

Dusco25 said,
Hackers have nothing to do with it.. It is this commie leader we have now in this country.. He talked about this years ago.

^This.

Nikos_GR said,
Imagine Internet ID becoming a part of your hardware... It will take more than a today's hacker to circumvent it...

You mean like a MAC address?

kenboldt said,
You mean like a MAC address?

MAC addresses are the easiest thing to spoof in a modern OS. Plus that only identifies the network card not the individual using the system.

This would uniquely identify YOU regardless of device.

Nikos_GR said,
Imagine Internet ID becoming a part of your hardware... It will take more than a today's hacker to circumvent it...

If there's someone smart enough to create it, then its pretty safe to assume there will be someone smart enough to break it. Although it requires a slightly different skill-set, i don't really think cracking hardware would be much more difficult than cracking software is "/

Nikos_GR said,
Imagine Internet ID becoming a part of your hardware... It will take more than a today's hacker to circumvent it...

They way i see it is they would push alot more people into hacking. People who dont even know anything about it now will learn how to hack just to protect themselves. Like when they used DRM locked games.

Nikos_GR said,
Imagine Internet ID becoming a part of your hardware... It will take more than a today's hacker to circumvent it...

But it's likely to be circumvented...

Internet ID? WTF is that? Never ever forever will some legal obligation like that cross borders. The internet will never have an "Internet ID" as never will all countries agree to one.

Pipe dream, smoked by some hippie thinking the world is "one".

The world could care less about ideas like this in some region.

What do you think happens now? I break a law that is in your country, what does your country do? They attempt to come after me. This Internet ID won't change that, the point is that it will just make it easier for people to track the origin of the illegal activity (in theory).

A prime case would be the man in the UK who hacked the NSA. They (the US) are attempting to extradite him for his crime. This case wouldn't change if an Internet ID were brought in to effect.

bits said,
Internet ID? WTF is that? Never ever forever will some legal obligation like that cross borders. The internet will never have an "Internet ID" as never will all countries agree to one.

Pipe dream, smoked by some hippie thinking the world is "one".

The world could care less about ideas like this in some region.


ye but they can close down the internet, if the USA and EU will be behind this, they practically locked down the internet already. Doubt many western people visit asian networks/websites/servers.

I'll be ****ed if Internet ID becomes reality. It'll just be one more thing a person has to keep track of and when it gets stolen, I'm sure companies will be right there, monetizing your grief by offering Internet ID monitoring services. Effing B.S! Another thing that erks me about these hackers, is if you're hacking into a company to punish them, why do they feel the need to punish everyone else by stealing our personal information and selling it on the net? The customer didn't wrong the hacker, the company did. By taking personal info on its customers, you're basically admitting that its about making money and not retaliating against a companies' wrong doings.

I still see them issuing an id like a drivers license for the internet... you have to pay a usage fee and pass a test in order to use and must renew, in turn we receive more incentives like state provided internet access anywhere and more informed people of the dangers or threats online.

Of course the sly backend is they have your every move monitored and criminal/citations are issued for online infractions

Just saying, it will end up being a privilege not a right to go online at this rate.

SaltLife said,
I still see them issuing an id like a drivers license for the internet... you have to pay a usage fee and pass a test in order to use and must renew, in turn we receive more incentives like state provided internet access anywhere and more informed people of the dangers or threats online.

Of course the sly backend is they have your every move monitored and criminal/citations are issued for online infractions

Just saying, it will end up being a privilege not a right to go online at this rate.


and all we have to blame are those hackers
the governments have no choice then to find a way to keep its citizens and bussinesses save from any attacks. bombings, shootings, breaking windows or DDoSing someone's server(s) or website(s).

At least in the Netherlands we have a basic system like this already, altho its only used for governmental websites thus far. Luckely not what we do is tracked (yet), but the connections we make are logged, and KPN is working on the deep packet scanning technique (KPN practically owns the entire dutch communications networks, including the AMS-IX/GN-IX and thus will be able to DPS half of the world), but i fear if these goddarn hackers keep ruining the online world... there will come an end to our unlimited freedom on the internet

they can lock down the internet very good, we have the capabilities and techniques. however its costly to do this proper and not leave any simple holes like public wifi, wifi stealing or prepaid cell phones with G3

Hackers could just steal someone's ID and use it. And then someone will have to prove he was having sex with his gf, and not hacking into a bank system at saturday night...

Internet ID's will only drive people from what we now consider the internet to a similar alternative designed network which is open.

So either way it's fail and hacking will never stop.

Digitalx said,
Internet ID's will only drive people from what we now consider the internet to a similar alternative designed network which is open.

So either way it's fail and hacking will never stop.

More likely that people would a way to get around it. I mean, it hardly sounds foolproof.

Internet ID's would not stop hackers. They will just use an open Access Point, Hack someones WiFi, use a VPS in another country, use a public proxy, use TOR.

There are so many ways to anonymise ones traffic that this Internet ID will do nothing.

ambiance said,
I, for one, welcome our new digital overlords.

I hear the distant sound of black helicopters and am off to my Montana mountain bunker complex.

If it comes to an internet ID then my days on the web/e-mail will come to an end. I got along without before it came, and just maybe I can get along without it again. Can you say land line.

I think there is a difference between the early 90's and now though when it comes to the Internet. In the western world, at least, almost everyone has an email address. Businesses use it as a contact point, and they use the Internet more generally in the workplace. It's not something you can just choose not to use in that situation.

At home, sure. There would be nothing to stop you from not having a connection. But within a working environment you would still have to use it. Of course, one could argue that within a working environment nothing would really change, since your actions are being monitored already (or they are if the company knows what it's doing).

Firstly, you're second. And secondly, you should be banned for useless posts like this.

With regards to the article however, one would hope that common sense prevails, and the relevant authorities see how a global ID would be useless, and highly dangerous.

Governments do not care. They always simply want to control people. And they need money. With or without hacking, police state will be realised sooner or later, despite any temporary privileges, often glorified as civil rights, you might think you might have.

It wouldn't work half as well as the Governments think it will. Instead they're just going to fall in to that same cycle: They create a guard, people circumvent the guard so they create a better guard that will eventually get circumvented, forcing them to create a better guard...well, you get the idea.

Sadly, there is no way around it. But the Governments possibly don't see this right now. They think that this plan is the be all and end all of illegal activity online.

DATmafia said,
1st! and Yikes!

And this is why people stopped saying "1st" a long time ago. It doesn't provide anything useful to the discussion, and the times that people are wrong...well, they end up looking a bit silly, don't they?

Intrinsica said,

And this is why people stopped saying "1st" a long time ago. It doesn't provide anything useful to the discussion, and the times that people are wrong...well, they end up looking a bit silly, don't they?

Hey, programmers start counting from 0

cralias said,

Hey, programmers start counting from 0
It doesn't change the fact that the FIRST element is 0 and the second element 1 So he's still wrong

Intrinsica said,

And this is why people stopped saying "1st" a long time ago. It doesn't provide anything useful to the discussion, and the times that people are wrong...well, they end up looking a bit silly, don't they?

They look silly anyway. Even if they post first. Don't they? Objectively...

By the way, having Personal ID means having not even time to download a torrent movie... They will get you before the prologue!

Only in America... I hope the Europeans will react 'cause they do it for much more insignificant situations.

Edited by Deo Domuique, May 30 2011, 1:45pm :

Deo Domuique said,
I hope the Europeans will react 'cause they do it for much more insignificant situations.
Sorry to disappoint you, but this sounds like something the EU would go for...

kravex said,
Titile should be:

Hackers to hack an Internet ID.

LOL That is exactly what I came here to say. People can be so ****ing stupid that they would just let such stupid things like Internet ID become mainstream.

Jebadiah said,
LOL That is exactly what I came here to say. People can be so ****ing stupid that they would just let such stupid things like Internet ID become mainstream.

Remember that there are more stupid people vs intelligent. There are also plenty of people who dont know anything about technology and this ID topic can be easily passed through government. Surely it is something every government would like to see.

kabix said,

Remember that there are more stupid people vs intelligent. There are also plenty of people who dont know anything about technology and this ID topic can be easily passed through government. Surely it is something every government would like to see.

I know. All those dumb people in Congress with their fancy law degrees and Ivy League educations. Those don't know anything about something as trivial as basic understanding of how technology. Or maybe, just maybe... they kind of might, sorta, be interested in... oh, I don't know control (to protect their SIG... like IP holders).

I will absolutely agree with your last sentence, I just don't agree with the second. I believe there are plenty of people who will pretend to not know anything about basic concepts of tech in order to pass a bill, but we are talking about pretty basic stuff (i.e. general concepts) and pretty anyone out of high school can get this.

kravex said,
Titile should be:

Hackers to hack an Internet ID.

That was my first thought when i read this article.
Seriously Neowin find someone more intelligent to write your articles

azure.sapphire said,

I know. All those dumb people in Congress with their fancy law degrees and Ivy League educations. Those don't know anything about something as trivial as basic understanding of how technology. Or maybe, just maybe... they kind of might, sorta, be interested in... oh, I don't know control (to protect their SIG... like IP holders).

I will absolutely agree with your last sentence, I just don't agree with the second. I believe there are plenty of people who will pretend to not know anything about basic concepts of tech in order to pass a bill, but we are talking about pretty basic stuff (i.e. general concepts) and pretty anyone out of high school can get this.

Anyone out of high school in the last 10-15 years maybe. Go much beyond that and what you call general concepts are what those people tend to call obscure arcana.

Don't forget, all this tech is simple to those who've grown up with it more or less. To anyone who hasn't, it's anything but, part of why Linux has never become truly mainstream or why Mac's "It just works" mantra is so popular.