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Yesterday we had our voices, feet, and bodies. Mimeograph machines, land mail, guitars, poster board, and paints among other means were our tools. Today the arsenal has expanded. Computers have brought instant world wide communication. Utility of printers far surpass yesterday's reproduction machines. Digital photography, audio and video recording enhance reporting accuracy. Web sites, chat rooms, email, and file transfer move information instantly. Schools, libraries, and internet cafes enable access beyond personal computer ownership. If we are to defeat the might we fight, it will be as our brains apply these tools.

HACKTIVISM , the hacker community and some of its tools.

BYPASS BLOCKING OF INTERNET SITES by being your own domain name server.

BOYCOTTS THAT WORK by applying force on the real target.

LEAFLETS THAT STICK and let readers come to the message.

MONEY WITH A MESSAGE that is guaranteed to be read.

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The governments of China, Russia, Cuba and some others are run by dirty dictator guys right? Their people don't have the freedoms accorded to those in the lands of the free and the home of the whatever, right? Have you heard of Guantanamo, John Walker, Bush(es), Ashcroft, Rumsfelt, or Poindexter (add Skull & Bones Kerry)? Perhaps you've heard the word "terrorist" and noted that label applied as an excuse to roll over rights of anyone those in power don't like. Those old enough and in the US may even recall or have noted the actions of the FBI, CIA, and various military intelligence services during the 1960's and 70's. Other nations offer their own examples. But times have changed, and there is the internet now and that’s where freedom reigns supreme, right? Get real! This is about one way to develop and use the skills you have to do so.

Activists are people dedicated to engaging in actions to further political and social goals. That's us, so we say. Hackers are technologically facile persons who seek to invent, enlarge, and manipulate otherwise limited or restricted programmable systems. Every one here at least knows how to turn a computer on and access the internet. That's a start. The two concepts join in what is termed "hactivism". Google searches will turn up a plethora of articles are written from fearfull establishment positions and all of which describe harmful effects of hactivists. We can take that as a good indication there are tools and allies at hand, and we can advance our causes by joining in.

Several websites devote themselves to furthering hactivism, and most radical activists would heartedly subscribe to their motives and styles. One is Hactivismo. It is a gathering place and source of information and tools for international hackers, human rights workers, artists and others who seek to further the highest standards and goals of human rights through technology.

Hactivismo operates under the aegis of the Cult of the Dead Cow (cDc) . Based in Lubbock, Texas, this is the most influential hacking group in the world. The cDc alumni reads like a Who's Who of hacking and includes a former Presidential advisor on Internet security, among others. The group is further distinguished by publishing the longest running e-zine on the Internet [est. 1984], stretching the limits of the First Amendment, and fighting anyone or any government that aspires to limit free speech.

Encrypted information can disallowed by companies and governments, their presence detected, and codes broken. Sometimes hiding truth and losing it in the crowd is the best way to protect information and yourself. Those who would control information can neither restrict nor snoop on content if they don't know where to look for it and won't notice even when it passes right in front of their eyes but appears instead as innocent along with floods of real innocent transmissions.

This is where steganography can come into play. That is a computer technology which simply takes one piece of information and hides it within another. Computer files (images, sounds recordings, even disks) contain unused or insignificant areas of data. Steganography takes advantage of these areas, replacing them with information. Files can then be exchanged without anyone knowing either that they are there or to look for what is inside of them.

CameraShy is a steganograhic application also available from Hactivism and a cDc project. The program is essentially an Internet Explorer type browser which allows finding, distilling information from, and placing stegged content within gif format graphics. The primary point of its inclusion here is to encourage and practice its use among us. There may soon come a time when such practice will serve us well. I can think now of several otherwise unavailable uses. The latest version of CameraShy can be downloaded for free from this site. It requires a Windows operating system. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, there is yet no version yet available which is compatible with Apple systems.

CameraShy is designed with the non-technical user in mind. It is a stand alone program which requires no installation, uses no associated files and leaves no trace of existence or history of use on the machine. Its size is small enough for a floppy disk and so can be used in libraries and internet cafes. It's "one touch" encryption and decryption processes can automatically retrieve as well as create and deliver banned and secret content across the Internet in seconds, enabling users to share such by hiding it in plain view encased in ordinary gif images.


What you need to start is a Windows based computer and a copy of CameraShy. You can put it anywhere on your machine or on a floppy disk. Double click it to start and you will see a window as below.

It appears similar to Internet Explorer with some of the buttons missing and a few extra boxes. There are no history or favorite buttons. Across the top are menus for Utilities, View, Security, Help, and Dedication. There are also buttons for the familiar back, forward, and stop functions. To the right of those is one showing an IE Explorer icon and padlock. That is used for encrypting a web page into a previously loaded gif graphic. More on that below.

Camera Shy can be used as a normal browser by either typing or pasting any URL into the normal web address space. To the right of that are two spaces partially filled with "*************". Those are two keys. The top is called a password, and its default content is "password". The one below it is called a signature, and its default content is "[Hactivismo]". The program will always start with those default two in place, but they should be changed for serious use.

When a site is reached, there will be an automatic scan for stegged gif's which have been encoded with the current password and signature when a web site is reached. Any found will be listed in the wide box below the browser window. For example the democratic underground site shows several gif's have been scanned but that none have been stegged with the default password and signature.

There is a test site that will allow you to see the effects of stegged content. First click on the test site link with your normal browser. Note no secret information appears. Now fire up CameraShy. Leave its default password and signature in place and then copy, paste, and enter the test site's URL, "", in its address field. Note the box at the bottom below the browser window will now show one stegged image found. The content must be in the picture of the woman at the typewriter since it is the only one on the page. Click on its line in the lower box to reveal the stegged content. Next use the back button to return to the original page, scroll down, and and click on "[Test site]" to try the same with the images there. Note there are five examples listed at the bottom of the picture pages. Try each.

To begin stegging your own gif graphics first click on the browser "View" menu. The drop down will only show one choice which functions to either show or not show the steg window. Set it to show by clicking on the single choice. As shown below, a new frame will open at the right with two two blue arrows and a red check box at the top.

The left arrow is to load a gif graphic from your machine. If you don't have a gif format graphic, go to Google Advanced Image Search to find one. Click the picture you find there, locate and enlarge it, and then right click it and chose "Save picture as" to save it somewhere on your machine. You can also load any bmp or jpg graphic from your machine and then convert and save it in gif format by using "Utilities" at the top of the CameraShy menu line.

Load the graphic you want to steg by using the left blue arrow. Note above the bottom window on the right there is a line that tells how many bytes of material can be stegged into the graphic. The screenshot graphic above can hide 21,531 bytes of text. That's a lot of writing. I've left it unstegged here, so don't bother to look.

Type or paste in the lower box the secret material you desire stegged into the graphic. Click the lock symbol above the lower box to insert the information into the graphic. Save it with the right arrow on top. It can be viewed as it will appear un-stegged in the browser by clicking the red check box. The red circle with a line through it next to the lock allows you to clear stegged content from a graphic. It can then be saved clean.

There is a detailed tutorial on using CameraShy at this link.

Here are some pointers on the usage of CameraShy:

1) DO NOT resize a GIF once content has been encrypted within it, otherwise you'll loose what you had.

2) DO NOT try to encrypt more data than the image can handle. This is stated in the "Max Message size". Compare this with the "actual message size".

3) If you do encounter no 2; and you still want to encrypt all the data, then simply follow these steps: Either enlarge the picture with any graphic program or - Load up MS Paint. - Open up your desired GIF. - and simply drag from the corner of the image to make it larger. Fill the background in, if necessary. The larger you make it, the more content it will be able to store.

4) Finally, I reckon that you should change the password (from its default), and the signiture.

5) After you've done that, you can send as many GIF's as you want to unsuspecting enemies, with unpleasant death threats contained, and they won't know what the hell is going on.


Most of the following has been extracted from the CameraShy help file and is included here with understanding many of the situations of concern differ from those we now see ourselves facing. Still, they are worthy of consideration in guiding manners of use those such as us may make.

Choose a long password and long signature. A phrase is best. Pass these out with the utmost care and secrecy. Location, password, and signature combos should be passed through separate and preferably distinct channels Those could included previous stegged material, instant message by either voice or type, chat systems, hidden posting board messages, email, land mail, voice phone calls, or in personal conversation.

They could be hidden in normal communication as say, "[password]!!!" Where three !!! is known to the listener to denote the new password. Or four, or two. Or a question mark sequence. Or, establish a code word to accompany the passphrases which is transplanted into normal speech. Some suggested sequences to denote passphrases might be (note the spaces): ???, ? ??, ! !, **, etc.

Understand right off, you are the weakest link. You are the control person. You must take every safe guard and be try to be free from desire of money or concern about family whom may be at risk or even trapped behind enemy lines. You must not leave a copy of any gif files you used, on your system. Use a wiping tool such as pgp wipe to remove the files.

Do not use stegged image on dissident sites. That defeats the purpose of steganography. Use the image on a non-dissident site, preferably one which is pro-"whatever system you are fighting against". Guard the location of the content.

With large groups it is best to work in cells where one cell is not connected to the other. Information pertinent to serious activity should be shared only on a need to know basis and for purpose of accomplishing intended tasks.

Always question people about their motives, finances, and family's well being. Always pay close attention to their reactions. Don’t give information to those who may excersize little control over their knowledge, whether that is due to personality, drinking, or drug use. Most censors work by hiring informers by using money, threat, blackmail, torture, or by harming or kidnapping family. This could happen to anyone of your members. Do not expect such to have to happen publicly.

Always use false names when talking with your own members. Always strive to get everyone out of a situation where they are at risk. This means everyone's family members. Leave no one behind, and if you must go back yourself, go alone and do not go legally. We have learned the lessons the hard way from past eras Do not make the same mistakes.

What are some of the practical usage examples? Users putting gifs in web forums. On hosted web sites. A gif among normal web page images. On one hand, you have how the website appears, on the other you have the real website through Camera/shy. Putting gifs in public forums of all types is very good. Or, on someone else's website. This gives plausible deniability. There is no crime in downloading such an image if you didn't know it was there.

Plant stegged images on popular enemy approved sites. Plant stegged images everywhere. Fake stegged images - they are really stegged, but no content - is the key to blocking their system. This effectively throws an atlas sized wrench into their machine. They can't ban the sites hosting the gifs, and they can't track the people down.

Steganalysis can be performed on gifs and they could be detected. Because the data is hidden in the most common image format on the Web, they would have to perform steganalysis on every gif coming through their wire. This is entirely impractical. Now, let's presume they do start to implement this on the IDS level. What then? Oh no! Then, we can merely put in another steganographical algorithm . It is opensource, and would be trivial to change the steg engine. This is round one, not ten.

Why not in mp3's or in wav files or video files? Because they are relatively uncommon on the web compared to gifs. But won't the ISP see the increase of gif traffic? Get real.

What other potential formats might be used instead of gifs? Jpegs. Text, would probably be best. Maybe mp3 or video if we could work this in with p2p applications. But, not through HTTP. It remains too uncommon. Otherwise, mp3 or video is considered to have superior capabilities in regards to including stegged content.

It may be possible to invent an undetectable format, but for now, the best way would probably be to try and find a changing format... because they can't scan for something if they do not know what to scan for.

How does the 'no trace' features work? History is turned off while running Camera/Shy. All cache content is deleted after it is shut down. Doesn't Camera/Shy send a message across the wires which is discernable from other browsers? No. Camera/Shy does no double pulling. All work is doneafter the page is downloaded and in the cache. It appears through the wire just as an ordinary browser with absolutely no signature. The content is first encrypted to the user's password, then it is put in the image according to the user's signature. There is nothing illegal about downloading a gif file. How do you know the person knew there was hidden content in that gif file?

Camera/Shy is a standalone application without multiple files which may get left behind. It never needs to be on your machine. Just open from web, run, then delete when finished.

How is it possible to keep the police from rather easily getting the stegded materials through penetrating the said group of people? This is probably the most informed question regarding security there is. There are three things you do not want the "police" to have. One, is the password to the encrypted content. Two, is the steganographical signature of the encrypted content. And, three, is the location of the content. If users visit the same sites everyday or keep a list of sites everyone within a group visits, then all they must do is visit these sites in order to find the content.

Passwords and signatures are important to keep secret. Because the images may be found if the enemy is scanning for them, the best bet is to keep the password secret. At times this may mean changing the password frequently... at other times this may mean not changing the password frequently. This said, one must always be discreet and never trust anyone. Some people tempting the law, invariably, will be caught. They will be caught because they told an undercover officer the password or signature or location. This is the most dangerous part of using the application.

What about web spidering for images? How can we protect against that. This is a very good question. By planting fake stegged content all over the web. That would literally throw an atlas sized wrench into their plans. It would create an effective denial of service on their entire internet, if they decided to ban websites hosting such content -- and if they decided to try and track down people visiting these sites, they would find themselves trying to track down everyone including themselves.

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There have been times I was unable to reach a particular web site for several days even though others could. In one extended case, I could access a site only at night but not during the day while others were not so affected. Some users of this chat room have complained that they are similarly being blocked from reaching certain sites. The easy tendency is to imagine some government or politically interested entity exercising its nefarious will. That could be so but it could also be due to the way your browser, your computer, and/or the internet works.

If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer, someone with access to it may have blocked you from particular sites or you may have even inadvertently done so yourslelf. Open Explorer and click [Tools] and then [Internet Options ...] on the menu bar. Next click the [Security] tab and then the [Restricted Sites] icon on the screen that comes up. Click the [Sites] button if it is not greyed and make sure the site you are not able to access is not listed. Delete its address if it is. Also check the Internet, Local Intranet, and Tusted site icons similarly and make sure their security levels are properly set. With each of these you can also click the [Custom] button and scroll through the options to make sure the settings are as you desire. If you don't understand the meaning of a setting click the "?" and then the setting description for an explanation. Other browsers than Microsoft Internet Explorer probably have similar security features.

Even if your browser settings are not at fault, there are other ways that access to a site can be blocked. The reasons can lie either within or external to your computer. In each case it is possible to find a way around such walls. The following explains a manner of doing so that will allow you to go where you chose much faster and with minimal detection than with normal procedure. For understanding what follows, a synopsis of internet linking is given first.

Rules and protocols for the internet are prescribed and maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C. That is a group that operates under the auspices of the International Telecomunications Union, which is an arm of the United Nations. The W3C specifies among many other things that Internet links are made by using numerical IP addresses in a specific format and composed of a specified sequence of four sets of up to three digits.

Suppose you want to reach the Chicago Cubs baseball team site and you enter into your browser "" , its URL, or acronym for Uniform Resource Locator. That URL first needs to be converted to the proper numerical IP address. Those numbers are permanent to that web site and assigned when it is first registered. Conversion from URL to IP number is done in computer files called Domain Name Servers, or DNS in acronym. The largest of those are registered directly to the W3C.

The designations “com”, “org”, “edu”, “net”,”uk”,”mx” and similar URL endings are domain names of those large DNS systems which keep tables for translating URLs to IP numbers. If one DNS does not have the translation, it will try others. Local internet service providers, or ISPs, also keep local DNS tables to reduce traffic and speed the task of reaching commonly accessed sites. If you are part of a company or other network, the translation may be done on its network servers.

Even outside your local situation, there may be and probably is a long and varying line of many servers between your ISP and the site you are trying to reach. At the moment this writing and checking there are 35 of them between my machine and Yahoo. Many of those will also hold a DNS table to ease finding common translation requests that go through them. The sometimes long periods necessary to make a link are used to get to a DNS machine with the necessary URL to IP number translation and bring it back.

Your own machine has its own IP address whenever you are connected to the internet. It is assigned by your ISP and used for getting information back to you by completing your end of the link. Your IP address will change with each call if you are on dial up. IP addresses for cable, wireless, satellite, phone DSL services, and in-house intranets are generally either permanent or periodically changed by your ISP for security reasons. You can find your current personal IP by clicking either for just your IP address or for not only that but also access to many net analysis and tracing utilites as well as detailed information on your own internet linking.

So, it looks like we have DNS tables all over the place, but there is one that is very special and always consulted first, and it exists on your own computer. The entire external translation process can be bypassed completely if the needed conversion is found in that table on your machine.

What follows is specific to Windows and how to make your personal DNS what you want it to be. The Windows local machine DNS is a text file named “host” and is located in the subdirectory C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc. It is Microsoft’s intent that it is hidden. Even sneakier is the fact that though C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\host is a text file, it carries no “.txt” extension. That prevents you opening it for modification by double clicking. You can reach and open it however with any text editor such as Notepad. Strangely, what you get after that trouble is Microsoft’s directions for modifying its carefully guarded host, to whit:

# Copyright © 1993-1999 Microsoft Corp. & APK 10/2001
# This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows.
# This file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. Each
# entry should be kept on an individual line. The IP address should
# be placed in the first column followed by the corresponding host name.
# The IP address and the host name should be separated by at least one
# space.
# Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual
# lines or following the machine name denoted by a '#' symbol.
# For example:
# # source server
# # x client host

And that is all the host file contains unless you have previously modified it by adding lines. It seems silly that Microsoft keeps the thing a secret, makes it difficult to reach, and then tells you how to modify it when you do. Weirder yet is that your machine doesn’t put anything in host by itself. You have to manually add lines to make it do anything. The line that might be added below Microsoft’s instructions to access the Chicago Cubs baseball team site is #DA CUBS

You can add as many lines to host as you like for important and frequently accessed URLs. For example, a Chicago sports fan might like to add a set of lines such as

One that might be useful to you is the address for the FURTHER LEFT chat room web site at The IP address for that is #DA CUBS # DA BEARS
# Forget DA BULLS because they stink
# Forget DA BLACKHAWKS since they sold the Bently twins to Detroit in 1945.
# Forget DA FIRE because soccer is boring as played in the US of A.

The obvious next question begged is how to discover the various numerical addresses such as for the Cubs site. There are several ways. The best I know of is with a utility called ID SERVE that can be downloaded for free from It is simple to use and has other functions such as cookie examination, server identification, reverse dns look up, and port probes. The screen interface is intuitively clear on finding IPs, and built in documentation explains the further functions.

The special IP address is a very useful one. It is reserved by W3C as your own machine’s bit bucket. Any commuication to or from a URL is simply disregarded if your host file assigns them to Think of the following uses. # I don’t want my kids looking there. # Clutter me no more. # Oh no you don’t, not again. # Go dig data from someone else. # Reading rots the mind. # Can't get there from here.
# NOTE: Don’t try them because they are all fakes (I think).

Spyware and popup detection programs can locate and give you the URL's of sites you may want to block. You can do that by assigning them to From then on such address will never again be able to either reach you or mine information from you.

Scroll down through your host file if it has has been modified from Microsoft's original content. Look for any addresses you have been unable to reach and see if they have been assigned to Delete those lines if so.

Save the host file after modifying it, but be sure you don't add a ".txt" extension to it. Then reboot because C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\host is loaded into memory for use when Windows first starts, You have only modified the file on disk but not the one in memory. It needs to be loaded again to take effect.

You will find after modification that access to any URLs added to your host file will be lightning fast. Your machine tells the internet where it wants to go and your ISP sends it there without querying either its own DNS or the various external ones. The only way to block you getting to where you want to go is if the destination site itself should decide to block access from your IP address, and that is impossible if you are on dial up or if your IP address changes. It is difficult to do otherwise.

Go ahead. Be your own DNS and flip a digital finger (pun intended) to those who hinder your course.


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When Cesar Chavez led the struggle to organize the United Farm Workers union, many joined in a national boycott, first of non union grapes and then lettuce. It was more than just refusal to purchase on the part of some individuals but rather an organized and active refusal, one which forced management into reversing actions. It did that by decreasing profits and raising a bleaker specter of worse to come. Most importantly, it tied those conditions to decisions of specific management personnel.

Focus was at the consumer level where money generates. There were local store front sign bearing picket lines and attendant newspaper reports. Trespassing arrests for picketing on private property only increased adverse publicity and pressure from nearby stores. Many unions members and families refused to cross picket lines as a matter of principle. They were helped in that by explanatory leaflets which listed nearby stores which did sell union produce.

Then there was a more direct personal approach. Representatives would leave store front picket lines to venture inside. The store manager was confronted and name noted as produce crates were inspected for union labels. Mail containing the manager’s name, leaflets, news paper clippings, and picket line photos went to the store’s corporate home office, and the orders for change came down the line.

The bottom line for vendors was assignment of personal responsibility for decreased profit. That in turn transferred to company buyers, distributors, and finally anti-union producers. The more important bottom line was formation and recognition of the United Farm Workers union.

That was yesterday. Today we have web sites and email to better marshall forces and hit targets more rapidly and effectively with the same approach.

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Purchase packages of permanent self stick 3 by 4 inch mailing label paper, and print sheets of six labels per page. There are several styles. One is white or colored opaque, and another is transparent for invisible backgrounds. The former make eye catching boxes where none were before. Text on the transparent type appears to be a part of material already in place. The paper comes with directions for use with common word processors. Word and WordPerfect both have built in facility for creating and printing them. The labels can be eye catching, easily carried, discretely applied in an instant, and are very difficult to remove.

Free your imagination and adjust the content to where they might be posted. Super market and chain restaurant windows and promotion placards, office entrance doors, voting machine screens, schools, and toilet mirrors and walls, those old graffitti standbys, come to mind as possible locations.

Gasoline station pumps might proclaim "DISTILLED FROM BLOOD OF IRAQI CHILDREN. GET THE MAXIMUM DEAD KIDS PER MILE". Transparent background "FAT FREE" enhancements of plastic wrapped fatty meat packages could make a point with few words. Fast food chain promotions could use "FORTIFIED WITH EARTH WORM PROTIEN MEAT SUBSTITUTE". A toilet commentary on filthy restaurants might be "EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS BEFORE USING THE FACILITIES".

Say what you have to say where you want to say it, and say it where it will be read, over and over and over. At the same time frustrate and anger those who would maintain a commercial world void of social consideration.

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One of Abbie Hoffman's more effective demonstrations was on the visitors' concourse over the floor of Chicago's Board of Trade from where he rained down a shower of US dollar bills. The scramble and fighting among big money handlers below said all that needed be.

A scanner, color printer, and suitable software such as Adobe Photo Shop or Paint Shop Pro can be used to make good looking first glance full size copies of paper money. Print a money image one just one side. Then add a suitable political or social message to the blank side. Cut to size, and then crumple and open to add realistic aging.

Leave money side up singly on floors, sidewalks, or wherever else people pass. The message will be read.

( Don't be seen leaving them. Don't try to spend, sell, or trade them. Don't put your name on them. )

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