In summer 2012, the social network LinkedIn. com was hacked by Russian cyber criminals and lost its whole user database. Hours later, millions of the stolen passwords, which were originally in an encrypted format, had been decrypted and posted on the Internet.
Internet security experts said that the passwords were easy to unscramble because of LinkedIn’s failure to use a ‘salt’ (a random number that is needed to access the encrypted data, along with the password) when hashing them, which is considered an insecure practice because it allows attackers to quickly reverse the scrambling process using pre-made lists of matching scrambled and unscrambled passwords. The eight volumes in the exhibition contain 4.7 million LinkedIn clear text user passwords printed in alphabetical order. Visitors are invited to look up their own password.
Aram Bartholl is a member of the internet based artist group, Free, Art and Technology Lab. Net politics, the DIY movement and internet development in general play an important role in his work. Beside numerous lectures, workshops and performances, he has exhibited at MoMA Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Pace Gallery in New York and Hayward Gallery in London. Aram lives and works in Berlin.
What is your favourite dark corner of the internet?
With so many options out there, we thought the artist would give us just one — not for now it appears.
What kinds of private information do you think will be valuable in 2050?
Aram has not given us an answer but that is not to say he does not have one...
Tell us two truths about yourself, and one lie.
The artist has taken the option of divulging no untruths or facts at this time.