Like most lads my age I play Call of Duty. I have a love hate relationship with it. I enjoy playing it from time to time but I find the more time I actually do spend with it the more infuriating it becomes. There has been times where I have had to turn it off through fear of a stroke. Anyway the point of this article is not to discuss how much I hate noob tubes and campers. You see if you don’t play Call of Duty then its hard to understand just how big the community around it is. A lot of people earn money from COD, not just the developers and publishers, although they do make a lot! People play professionally and are sponsored to enter tournaments, which pay out big money. Others produce content on the internet, mainly in the form of YouYube videos. These people are called commentators or codcasters as Activision have cleverly entitled it. Its these guys that make some of the most money.
Commentators do videos of expert play and give tips and advice on how to play better. Some, as you can imagine, are a bit less helpful but never the less, these guys get some serious hits on YouTube and earn big money from advertising. SeaNanners is one such commentator with 1,394,929 subscribers and 235,662,970 video views (as of 06/12/12). Whiteboy7thst is another commentator with 1,625,152 subscribers and 474,604,837 views, making him one of the most subscribed to COD commentators (again as of 6/12/2012). Not quite Gangnam Style but still that’s pretty impressive for people who just play video games. If you would like to see just how fanatical there followers are then watch this. I honestly tried to pick out on single moment from that video as the ‘best bit’, rather then link the whole thing but I couldn’t, just watch it. I think clip 2 and 3 are the best.
I’ve been aware of these commentators for a few years but I can honestly say I have never really paid any attention to them until recently. In the run up to the Black Ops II launch, I started watching one commentator called WoodysGamertag because he had info on the game before it came out. One of his videos I found more interesting other. You can see it here. In the video he discusses how his Xbox Live account (the one he uses to make a living) was taken over by a hacker know as Cosmo The God.
Cosmo The God is hacker that brought down sites such as NASDAQ, CIA.gov, and UFC.com, he has redirected other sites to his own twitter account and wired.com has quoted him as “pioneering social-engineering techniques that allowed him to gain access to user accounts at Amazon, PayPal, and a slew of other companies”. These are no small feats.
After a multi-state effort from the FBI, Cosmo was brought to justice in June 2012. He was banned from using the internet for the next 6 years. I should mention at this point that Cosmo is only 15 years of ages. I was shocked when I discover that. Shocked a child had brought down major government websites and taken over seemingly secure accounts. His raised lawyer raised and interesting point saying he felt that his punishment was a little on the harsh side:
“…they could have locked him up for three years straight and then released him on juvenile parole… But to keep someone off the Internet for six years — that one term seems unduly harsh. You’re talking about a really bright, gifted kid in terms of all things Internet. And at some point after getting on the right path he could do some really good things. I feel that monitored Internet access for six years is a bit on the hefty side. It could sideline his whole life–his career path, his art, his skills. At some level it’s like taking away Mozart’s piano.”
-Jay Leiderman, a Los Angeles attorney
I don’t agree with what Cosmo did at all, but in some ways I can see what his lawyer is saying. If he was guided he could probably do something really good with his life but just how do you guide someone like that? If ta person is willing to take down government websites and stop people from making a living who is to say that if they got on the right path they wouldn’t regress?
Anyway I found this story interesting and I hope you did too. You can read the original article here if you like. There is also a longer more detailed article, that goes into specifics about how these hacks are done here. The longer article also gives an insight into the strange life that he leads.
Update: Since first sitting down to write this I have found that despite being prohibited from using the internet, Cosmo has actually used his knowledge to hack the twitter account of the Westboro Baptist Church. I don’t condone the hacking of anyone’s accounts but the WBC are not the nicest people and in my opinion, stopping there message of hate can only be a good think. Read the update here