2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Syrian Electronic Army Wuz Here

#sxsw #DarkerWeb


On April 23, 2012, the Syrian Electronic Army hacked the Twitter account of the Associated Press and posted a tweet proclaiming that President Obama had been injured in a terrorist attack. The stock market took an immediate hit, shooting down 1 percent before recovering. That’s far the SEA’s only conquest, having successfully hacked NPR, the Guardian, the Daily Dot, and the Onion in the last year alone. The trend raises serious concerns for digital newsrooms. In the age of Anonymous, how do you objectively report on hackers—and hacker culture—without opening up yourself, your company, and your sources to potential vulnerabilities? This panel will address the dangers lurking in the darker Web.



Austin Powell

Managing Editor

The Daily Dot

Austin Powell is the co-editor of The Austin Chronicle Music Anthology, a 30-year retrospective published UT Press. He currently serves as the managing editor of the Daily Dot, an online newspaper devoted to Web communities. His work has been published by the Austin Chronicle, Nylon magazine, and GigaOM.


Cole Stryker


Giant Media

Cole Stryker is a writer and media strategist at Giant Media. He is the author of Epic Win for Anonymous, the first book to tell the story of the Internet's memetic playground called 4chan and the hacktivist group Anonymous, from which it spawned. He also authored Hacking the Future, a broader history of anonymity as a social construct that dissects how identity brokers like Facebook and Google control and monetize your identity, and explains how recent manifestations of anonymous activism and free speech are raging against these systems of control.

Parmy Olson



I track people who are disrupting the world of mobile technology. I'm the author of "We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous and the Global Cyber Insurgency", (Little Brown, 2012) which The New York Times called a "lively, startling book that reads as 'The Social Network' for group hackers." I recently relocated to Forbes' San Francisco office, and was previously Forbes' London bureau chief from 2008-12, interviewing British billionaires like Philip Green and controversial figures like Mohammed Al Fayed; I wrote last year's billionaires cover story on Russia's Yuri Milner, and have broken stories like the Facebook-Spotify partnership in 2011. Before all this I had stints at the BBC and as a radio journalist.


Tom Cochran

Chief Technology Officer

Atlantic Media Company

Tom is the Chief Technology Officer at Atlantic Media, publisher of The Atlantic, Quartz, Government Executive and National Journal. As CTO, he is charged with leading the successful execution of business strategy through industry-leading digital and enterprise technology.
Prior to joining the Atlantic Media, he was the Director of New Media Technologies for the White House, leading the team to provide a secure, stable, and scalable infrastructure across all White House digital properties, enabling the amplification of the President’s message. At the White House, his team was responsible for architecting the technology behind the “We the People” petition application, connecting the public directly with the Administration.
Tom has also been a contributing blogger for the Harvard Business Review, All Things Digital, Entrepreneur, and Digiday.

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