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From: InfoSec News (isn_at_c4i.org)
Date: Mon Nov 11 2002 - 03:50:27 CST
Bangalore, November 10
He is a 16-year-old student from Bangalore and the youngest member of
the world's most active 'hacktivist' group, the US-based
hacktivismo.com. You can call him 'xtremist' for that is what he call
In a way that is what he is, having contributed to the group's complex
and highly skilled work that helps people access websites blocked by
governments in countries like China and facilitates quick transmission
of banned content on the net. Xtremist was contacted after days of
tracking and gave this interview on condition that his identity was
Could you tell us something about yourself?
I don't want to say much about myself.
How did you acquire the skills to work as a hacktivist?
Like most hackers, I have taught myself these skills. I always had a
special interest in computers. I became very interested in computer
security and began cracking into my own computers and started writing
buffer overflow exploits. Since then I have been developing open
source security tools, things like distributed scanners, rootkits,
security kernel modules, intrusion detection systems, packet
Why did you decide to be a hacktivist?
I was always a firm supporter of freedom of speech and information.
Freedom on the Internet, probably the only medium where censorship and
monitoring can be circumvented, is very important.
Does anyone here know what you do?
No, I don't disclose my work to even friends and co-students.
Are there a lot of hacktivists in India?
There don't seem to be any.
What will you do when you finish studying?
I would like to work in a computer security company like stake. Or
start one in India. I would like to start helping a security company
in India part-time even now.
Aren't you afraid of the governments of countries like China whose
filtering mechanisms you are breaking into? You are aware that hacking
is a serious offence in India and the police here could catch you.
I do it for the sake of freedom of the Internet. China doesn’t have
legal jurisdiction in Bangalore. There is nothing illegal in what we
do. We are not cracking into Chinese computers. We just circumvent
firewalls without hurting Chinese government computers.
How did hacktivism originate? And what do you do?
Hacktivism winds back to Omega - a longstanding member of the CULT OF
DEAD COW - who started using the word as a joke to describe online
Oxblood Ruffin (hactivismo’s founder) began using the word, followed
by journalists and others. We help people access blocked sites among
many things. (For details visit hacktivismo.com or write to
How many members does hactivismo have?
About 22, including hackers, lawyers and human rights activists. There
are also informal layers of support that collect network intelligence
and assist with application distribution and document translation.
Hacktivismo's network is truly international. We are the United
Nations of Hacking.
Which are the countries where you have helped political groups?
The countries that use filtering include China, Cuba and many Islamic
countries. Most claim to block pornographic content but actually block
politically inconvenient material.
Has the Indian government banned access to any sites or is filtering
The Indian government and/or ISPs have been restricting access to
sites, mostly foreign sites offering free internet telephony. About
filtering emails, we are not sure. There is a high probability of that
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