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April 28, 2010

Hacking Doug

So what do I know from technology? Nothing is what I know from technology. But I am bemused that someone took it upon themselves to hack ArtsJournal, thus de facto bringing it down.

I don't mean to make fun. It's a serious inconvenience for Doug McLennan, who the last I heard was laboring away to fix the problem. What interests me, however, is why anyone should bother to cause such a problem in the first place.

ArtsJournal is not, say, the Huffington Post or the Drudge Report (sorry: THE DRUDGE REPORT). It doesn't attract huge numbers of people with a violent political agenda or just readers or hits or whatever we call them. It's just a nice idea that helps a fair number of people keep up with arts news and makes Doug some money. Benign capitalism in action.

So why bring it down? I suppose someone could have a personal animus against Doug, though that seems improbable, since he's a nice guy. Maybe some people just like causing trouble. Maybe there are destructive robot hacking devices on autopilot that nose their way around the web blindly, destroying whatever they can.

But maybe someone out there hates the arts. Now, that's the most intriguing scenario. The arts matter! Somebody cares, albeit negatively! Will ARTicles be the next victim? We all complain about the implosion of arts journalism, and here's a case where someone thinks it's still important enough to attack. Gives one hope, in a weird sort of way.
April 28, 2010 5:24 AM | | Comments (3)

3 Comments

An art critic e-mailed me yesterday to ask what was up with the malware warning on ArtsJournal. I'm amused that your response, John, is rather like hers. Figuring congratulations were in order for the site's having been hacked, she added, "That seems like a credential of some kind."

The hackers insert code into vulnerable websites, which then auto-downloads malicious software onto people's computers which then get used to send spam, etc.

Actually Google is the one blocking access to the site to protect people from malware. It's the right thing to do, as Doug mentions.. however their reinstatement procedure could be a lot better.

why was AJ hacked? for the same reason mountain climbers want to climb a mountain: because it's there.

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    ARTicles ARTicles is a project of 
    the National Arts Journalism Program, an association of some 500 journalists in the United States. Our group blog is a place for arts and cultural journalists to share ideas and information, to celebrate what we do, and to make the case for its continuing value. ARTicles is edited by Laura Collins-Hughes. To contact her, click here.
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