We do love our crooks in the IT industry. And we have everything from evil super villains who take out nuclear reactors with their sophisticated viruses - (oh hold on that was the Americans and we're on their side) - to common garden variety bandits.
You know who we mean - the kind of people who regard intellectual property as intellectual theft and think it's ok to copy software for free, or share music gratis, or repost stories from new web sites without attribution.
Whichever way you cut it, getting your mitts on something you shouldn't and attempts by authority to stop you doing it always rate highly with the industry.
So we have hacked into our neighbor's wifi account (hint - using your pet rat's name as a password .. not clever) and have scoured the web on our "second hand" iPad to find the most popular hacker/security/villainy stories in the tech world today.
Let's start close to home. We all know the internet is full of bad people saying rude things about each other. Now a request by the Police in Tasmania for people to stop alerting them about "every abusive or harassing comment" posted to Facebook has become the most popular story on our sister site iTnews.
And proving the readership's interests spans from the parochial to the global, the second most popular story on the site concerned the push by government agencies for a global crackdown in intellectual property theft.
John Hilvert's piece called, "Why the US back flipped on copyright in global treaty" referenced some major defeats for the anti-piracy lobby last week.
Sticking with the copyright theme, CIO readers rated "DOJ calls Megaupload's motion to dismiss 'incredible'" highly enough to push it to the top of their most popular list. At the heart of the story is the expressed incredulity of the US Department of Justice at Megaupload's suggestion that it can't be prosecuted as its sits outside US jurisdiction.
But even if the DOJ wins its case, it's unlikely to make much of an impact if the example of Pirate Bay in the UK is considered. News.com.au's story entitled, "Pirate Bay ban has done nothing to prevent piracy" reported that a week after the High Court ordered British ISPs to block the web site, file sharing traffic had rebounded to its regular levels.
It was piracy of another kind that rated highly on UK web site The Register. The site reported that Apple has had its fill of the growing black market in iOS beta passes and is planning a crackdown.
According to the report, "Apple has moved to squash the black market and several of the key sites have disappeared, including activatemyios.com and iosudidregistrations.com. El Reg notes udidactivation.com is still active."
But why steal a software key when you can softly steal a keyless car? ZDNet AU pointed out the case of a BMW withstanding the attention of car jacking hackers for only three minutes. The story noted that, "Multiple BMW models are being swiped without activating car alarms or immobilisers because the thieves are hacking their way into the vehicles".
Also popular on ZDNet, and timely given that last piece, was a story headlined "Ten Steps to secure your PC". Presumably not leaving it in your keyless Beamer is a good place to start.
But the story that really resonated with ZDNet's readers demonstrated that's it not just the Black Hats who draw a crowd. Moves by hacktervist group Anonymous to target pedophiles was the most popular story on the site. Anonymous has launched what it calls Operation PedoChat (#OpPedochat).
The author noted 85 domains being attacked, and also reminded readers that Anonymous has had success in this area before - for instance with Operation DarkNet (#OpDarknet) in 2011.
Click Whoring 101
Maybe you can find an IT angle in these stories - but the angle has to be stronger than the publisher's desire to improve their Nielsen Netratings ranking.
Cnet's story about a Japanese man who created his own augmented reality girlfriend squeaked into the top 10 but only for a few minutes. And frankly it's a little sensible to qualify as genuine click whoring but we'll give them a gong anyway for encouragement.
They will really have to lift their game though to match the efforts of US tech blog Mashable which scored a quinella with "Drunk Germans cheer for woman parking car" and "17 alt rock bands you jammed to in the 90's".
If you can spot the IT angle in that pair then you're not actually trying.
Andrew Birmingham is a Sydney based dotcom entrepreneur and occasional commentator. Follow him on Twitter @ag_birmingham.
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Issue: 322 | December 2013
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