Weev in Abkhazia? Say it isn’t so!

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April 26, 2016 by AK

This happened on the eve of Hitler’s birthday, April 20:

Printers at several universities across Germany produced anti-Semitic leaflets… after hackers appeared to break into their computer systems, according to university officials…

At the University of Hamburg, the leaflets were anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic: The New York Times has quotes that leave no doubt as to their content. Ironically, the spokesman for the University of Tübingen was advised by the police not to make public the exact messages printed out so that he would not inadvertently break the law by proliferating hate speech.

Also according to The New York Times, “In the United States, several colleges reported similar breaches in March…”

Those attacks were covered by The Washington Post:

A notorious white supremacist computer hacker has claimed responsibility for sending anti-Semitic fliers to networked printers at several universities across the country, a coordinated cyberattack that included the University of Maryland and Princeton among thousands of targets.

The hacker was Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, convicted in 2012 of “one count of identity fraud and one count of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization” in the AT&T vulnerability affair. (More on his trial here.) I recall that he was represented on appeal by Orin Kerr, the prominent Fourth Amendment lawyer and scholar and Volokh Conspiracy contributor. An appeals court reversed his conviction in 2014.

But what happened next? According to Pando, Auernheimer moved in with an Alawite girlfriend and settled in Beirut. Then he moved to Serbia or some other location in the Balkans. In March, The WaPo reported:

Andrew Auernheimer, 30, a self-proclaimed Internet troll and white supremacist, told The Washington Post that he carried out the attack from his home in Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia, as part of a new effort to distribute his message.

I have doubts about his self-reported countries of residence. I think the guy needs to keep the public’s attention focused on himself so he keeps visiting, or says he is visiting, relatively exotic locations but does not really settle there. But suppose for a moment that he is telling the truth and Abkhazia is truly his new long-term location.

The guy obviously needs his head fixed – perhaps a classical education might help. On the other hand, he is a talented provincial with a major grudge against the US government. He is particularly good at finding security holes in complicated systems. Any sensible government would want to have this sort of hacker for an ally, not an adversary.


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