Oopsies: Guy who sent hoax message to MIT students about canceled classes says he just wanted to show how insecure e-mail isBy adamg - 3/20/13 - 5:11 pm
And in that, Delian Asparouhov succeeded - which prompted him to apologize to the entire MIT campus early this morning:
I made a lot of people mad, and made many people very scared, and for that I feel terrible. MIT has already gone through a lot in the last few months, and my actions were completely inappropriate. I should have never written the email, and especially not sent it out to the entire school.
Asparouhov then explains what he did and why - too late to realize it was not the brightest of ideas:
At the time, I wasn't thinking about the gun scare. I wasn’t even thinking about the Aaron Swartz case I had copied into the email. All I was thinking in composing that email was to make it seem like an email President Reif would actually compose.
I walked away from my computer to go eat some food, and I was still worry-free until I saw the email on a friend's computer. Reading through it, with the official letterhead, I realized how this appeared in context with the Aaron case and the recent gun scare.
WBUR posts a statement by US Attorney Carmen Ortiz.
Meanwhile, a California congresswoman is proposing changes to the law used to go after Swartz to try to keep anybody else from going through what he did.
Starts at 2 p.m. opposite the Moakley Courthouse, where Swartz was scheduled to go on trial in a month for downloading documents from an online database.
On Sunday 1/13/2013 from approximately 7:00pm to 10:30pm MIT experienced a denial of service (DoS) attack. During this period external network connectivity to and from MIT was down for the large majority of the Internet. IS&T staff responded and service was restored by 10:30pm.
UPDATE, 11:20 p.m.: mit.edu is back up, although the co-gen page still shows the Anonymous message.
Revenge for Aaron Swartz's death? TechCrunch reports MIT's Web site is down, although some testing here (ping and traceroute) suggests the entire mit.edu domain is no longer listed in DNS.
The Tech tweets:
Aaron's death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community's most cherished principles.
Aaron Swartz, 26, who co-founded Reddit and who allegedly broke into an MIT wiring closet to download large numbers of academic articles from a non-profit database, committed suicide, the Tech reports.
Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig expresses his outrage at the Department of Justice's prosecution of the case even as the database's owner declined to press charges:
From the beginning, the government worked as hard as it could to characterize what Aaron did in the most extreme and absurd way. The "property" Aaron had "stolen," we were told, was worth "millions of dollars" - with the hint, and then the suggestion, that his aim must have been to profit from his crime. But anyone who says that there is money to be made in a stash of ACADEMIC ARTICLES is either an idiot or a liar. It was clear what this was not, yet our government continued to push as if it had caught the 9/11 terrorists red-handed.
The indictment against Aaron Swartz on charges he used MIT networks to download 4.7 million documents from an online database of academic papers has some details of interest to net geeks, such as his use of pseudonyms like "Gary Host" and "Grace Host" (because he was using a "ghost" laptop, which he might have bought at Micro Center) and his preference for the Python scripting language.
And it also contains alleged observations of physical breaking and entering at an MIT basement wiring closet:
On January 4, 2011, Aaron Swartz was observed entering the restricted basement network wiring closet to replace an external hard drive to his computer.
On January 6, 2011, Swartz returned to the wiring closet to remove his computer equipment. This time he attempted to evade identification at the entrance to the restricted area. As Swartz entered the wiring closet, he held his bicycle helmet like a mask to shield his face, looking through ventilation holes in the helmet. Swartz then removed his computer equipment from the closet, put it in his backpack and left, again masking his face with the bicylcle helmet before peering through a crack in the double doors and cautiously stepping out.
The Times reports Aaron Swartz, 24, was indicted today on charged he broke into an MIT wiring closet - physically breaking in, with his own hands - then using a network connection there to grab copies of documents from JSTOR, which sells online access to academic publications.
Swartz is a co-founder of Reddit, a geeky social network with an active Boston community.