932: CIA

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
(Redirected from 932)
Jump to: navigation, search
CIA
It was their main recruiting poster, hung nearly ten feet up a wall! This means the hackers have LADDER technology! Are we headed for a future where everyone has to pay $50 for one of those locked plexiglass poster covers? More after the break...
Title text: It was their main recruiting poster, hung nearly ten feet up a wall! This means the hackers have LADDER technology! Are we headed for a future where everyone has to pay $50 for one of those locked plexiglass poster covers? More after the break...

[edit] Explanation

This comic is a reference to the attacks by a group briefly known as LulzSec, which was a splinter group from the internet community known as Anonymous, also featured in 834: Wikileaks. In the back of the news report in frame one is the logo that was used by LulzSec. The group was able to publicize several high profile attacks. They were able to briefly take down the CIA website using a DDoS attack. DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service in which the attacker uses many computers to send traffic to a host and render it incapable of answering requests from any other computer, effectively taking the site down.

This comic is pointing out the difference between what lay-people and the computer experts hear when seeing a story like this. Most people may think there is no boundary between CIA website and its internal network, and conclude hackers compromised USA intelligence service most precious data. Which would be incredible incompetence from the CIA and could lead to agents assassination.

Computer experts, on the other hand, may compare a website to a company's poster, which is much different and less harmful: the only damage is CIA having its public relation capacities hindered for a few hours.

The title text is a transcript of a fake news report. A story similar to the attack is illustrated using old technology. This attempts to demonstrate how silly the news coverage of the real event is. The recruiting poster refers to the CIA website, as it is a PR tool with no connection to sensitive information. It being ten feet high refers to the fact that that the website is open to the public and has limited protections (as danger from a compromised site is low). The ladder technology refers to the DDos attack, as these attacks are primitive, but possibly well coordinated. The plexiglass poster covers refer to website security tools that may be added to deter future vandalism.

[edit] Transcript

[A television is showing a news anchor. The inset picture of the news shows Anonymous wearing a monocle and top hat.]
Anchor: Hackers briefly took down the website of the CIA yesterday...
[Ponytail is watching television.]
What people hear:
Anchor: Someone hacked into the computers of the CIA!!
[Megan is watching television.]
What computer experts hear:
Anchor: Someone tore down a poster hung up by the CIA!!
comment.png add a comment! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!

Discussion

Hey, Lulzsec was awesome. They released free passwords for porn websites on the internet! I'm sitting on 150 gigabytes of gold and pleasure, and it's all thanks to them. Davidy²²[talk] 09:16, 9 March 2013 (UTC)

Apparently computer experts are not a subset of people... 108.162.219.7 21:48, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
Tools

It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal or Bitcoin?