Blondie as a news anchor is reporting on a cyberattack on the CIA (hence the title).
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 (Ponytail) and the computer expert (Megan) hear when seeing a story like this. Most people may think there is no boundary between the CIA website and its internal network, and conclude hackers compromised the USA intelligence service's most precious data, which would be an incredible display of incompetence by the CIA and would have some pretty obvious negative side effects for CIA assets around the world.
Computer experts, on the other hand, may compare the CIA website to a company's poster, so the damage done is much different and less harmful: the CIA's public relation capacities are hindered for a few hours. The damage from a DDoS is less a catastrophic compromise of valuable federal databases, and more like flash mob crowding in the lobby of the CIA offices, making life mildly inconvenient.
One particularly humorous and possibly unintended aspect of this is that "People" and "Computer experts" are listed separately, implying that computer experts are not people. Randall probably meant "lay-people" rather than people.
The title text is a transcript of a made up 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.
- [A television is showing Blondie as a news anchor. The inset picture of the news shows the logo of LulzSec, a man wearing a monocle and top hat.]
- Blondie: Hackers briefly took down the website of the CIA yesterday...
- [Ponytail, sitting in an armchair, is watching a television (seen from the side) standing on a table hearing what Blondie says as indicated with a zigzag line from the TV. Above the top part of the frame is a smaller frame with a label:]
- What people hear:
- Blondie (not shown from the TV): Someone hacked into the computers of the CIA!!
- [Megan, sitting in an armchair, is watching a television (seen from the side) standing on a table hearing what Blondie says as indicated with a zigzag line from the TV. Above the top part of the frame is a smaller frame with a label:]
- What computer experts hear:
- Blondie (not shown from the TV): Someone tore down a poster hung up by the CIA!!
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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)
- what the heck? youtube.com/watch?v=miLcaqq2Zpk (talk) 09:50, 28 March 2022 (UTC)
Apparently computer experts are not a subset of people... 184.108.40.206 21:48, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
- Good point. Randall made a mistake. Let's just say it's another hidden joke! 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)