The Department Of Homeland Security (DHS) is the home of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), and ICE has had responsibility for the enforcement of copyrights, intellectual property and related. ICE has had that role for a while now, too.
Which means you see DHS listed on various postings.
Here is one of many previous OMG-DHS-WTF kerfuffles:
Waving the latest round of DHS enforcement in front of nerds is probably great for the clicks, but not really all that newsworthy.
So when ICE was made in 2003, the same department stayed under it. And ICE is under DHS.
In other words, it is/was weirder that the Secret Service protects the President than it was that they were involved in Sun Devil.
And, as someone who came up close enough to Sun Devil to know a couple things (I graduated high school in '94 and went almost directly to working in vulnerability research): many of the people who got caught up in Sun Devil were ultimately good people playing MIT-style pranks that just got out of hand... but don't valorize it. For a good long chunk of time, people were routinely hacking phone switches and rerouting calls. Almost the whole phone infrastructure --- and EVERY Internet-connected Unix system --- was owned up. It was NUTS.
I don't valorize the '80s BBS scene per se, I just think the response was a bit over the top. Instead of fixing their shit, they tried to paint a bunch of teenage pranksters as some kind of apocalypse, as if these were uniquely evil geniuses, and raiding some BBSs and board game companies to incapacitate them was the real fix to the problem. If you're so wide-open that critical infrastructure is being owned by teenage kids of the level of technical sophistication that you find in '80s Phrack issues, there might be a bigger problem. If anything, the companies were lucky it was teenage kids and not, at that time, anyone more nefarious.
As far as the "mythos" part, the writings are what's appealing to me, mainly; there's a certain breathless, naive technical wonder of discovery that runs throughout the '80s textfiles on the subject, which is somehow endearing.
I am also not talking about "the BBS scene" (which I was very much a part of). The BBS scene didn't own up switches. The BBS scene didn't have lists of X.25 outdials. The BBS scene couldn't rig you up a conference bridge. Lots of people posted comments on BBSs. Very few of them would know what to do with a DMS-100.
I am not saying the people to whom I am alluding were evil. They were not. I'm saying they were much smarter than "the BBS scene" as a whole, and that the pranks they were playing got way out of hand.
Also: I don't know why you're talking down early Phrack issues. Say what you will about today's Phrack, but in the early '90s, those were teenagers talking about how to reconfigure telco switches. The telco switches they had broken into and owned up.
Also, "Secret Service" originally referred to "The Secret Service Division of the Treasury", which was the anticounterfeiting task force of the US Treasury. It is less ominous in context. I do agree, though, that the name is ominous when you strip away the context.
I'm thinking mostly of '80s Phrack issues; I haven't read too much of the '90s stuff. The '80s issues don't read to me like particularly high-level technical genius. They feel more like kids just learning relatively basic things about how different machines and networks work, sharing newbie advice (some of it cargo-cult), and then, somehow, also getting accounts on big telco systems at the same time. It's mostly the proximity that's striking, that you have kids clearly not up to the level of a Bell Labs engineer or anything, still trying to learn stuff, who are simultaneously breaking into everything using even their quite-in-progress knowledge.
I'm not so sure... Most things in the world don't require as much security as information infrastructure. For some reason there is a cultural understanding that attacking it is OK.
At that time, for most teenage hackers, unix accounts were hard to come by. To even the odds, a war dialing search began and by sheer later night persistence, they discovered vast networks and operating systems. They dumpster dived, social engineered and brute forced their way to knowledge. On rare occasions, they may have shot off a flare gun when guards attempted to crack their developing bodies, become a line man for leads, or run various password permutations by hand.
what the masses aren't aware of is some of those kids quietly inoculated a virus in Chase Manhattan systems, showed the ss how banks can be compromised via tymnet, trw, etc. Not a cent was taken from those institutions, if anything, maybe a sneaker.
In the end, the ss threw them in the fed pen with hardened criminals. What a waste. After couple of decades, couple are leading startups funded by sandhill vcs. The rest are in darkness.
Maybe one day, we will realize what teenage spirit smells like and how to wield it for the good of mankind. Then again, we might be on the cusp of it - hackernews.
Its one of those painful chuckles.
That said, take down notices from law enforcement or intelligence agencies would generally cite either an investigation in progress or a confidential information. I saw a takedown which related to the a video that included extensive footage of the federal building in San Jose. The amateur music video was using the concrete pillars for some coreographic moves but the Feds complained it contained too much 'site intelligence' with respect to the building. Which you really couldn't argue with, watching it you could see where all the fire exits were, office partitions, etc etc.
One possible answer was thought to be, put all non-military national security under one umbrella and have it report cabinet-level to the President, so you won't have some petty squabble between the Coast Guard and I don't know INS preventing operations from being executed.
Obviously, the Federal Government is not in fact Voltron, and glomming together a bunch of large bureaucracies into one giant bureaucracy doesn't make government more efficient. But it's not an Illuminati plot, if that's what you're getting at.
Or... what, you just don't like the name? Would you prefer "The United States Coastal, Border, and Federal Emergency Customs, Immigration, Transportation and Protective Services Intelligence and Management Agency"?
In most times and places, the institution would be called "State Security". Which is a commonly used name for the main instrument of repression in totalitarian countries (for instance Stasi or Securitate, both of which went by the full name "Department of State Security".)
Most free countries have given their national security agency a rather more neutral name and a less powers to distance themselves from such practices. The US has chosen to actually start an agency with that name and give it unprecedented powers. You do the math.
Kind of funny how a department setup to ostensibly protect us from terrorists is now involved in taking down websites and sending DMCAs.
Personally, I think all government departments should be automatically dissolved every 5 years, and require politicians to renew them. It's unlikely that it would ever happen, but just the remote possibility that it might could hopefully put a check on this type of massive scope creep.
Shortly thereafter G.W.Bush started pushing for the National Guard to become "more involved in homeland security."
Several months later 9/11 happened.
That said it appears DHS were given ample time to give a comment and decided not to. That was their choice and it left their motives open for speculation, which the article writer took full advantage of when selecting a title. It's probably a bit of yellow journalism, but DHS could have squashed it with a comment saying they simply didn't want their copyrighted material to be associated with such views.
So, if the takedown was not done with the intent of silencing someone, why was it issued?
Looks like ~1700 videos have been taken down.