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Hacktivism: The fallout from Anonymous and LulzSec

Tim Lohman | Oct. 12, 2011
While far from endorsing hacktivists, F-Secure chief research officer, Mikko Hypponen, says that at least in the instance of the attacks on Sony's PlayStation Network, things aren't black and white.s"

It what appears to be a deliberate movement against PayPal's decision to cut off users from donating to WikiLeaks, LulzSec is now calling for the use of alternate payment methods such as MyBitCoin, Liberty Reserve, WebMoney, Neteller, Moneybookers.

The group has also appears to have taken a leaf out of WikiLeaks' book and now claims to be working with media to expose more of those involved with the recent News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

"We're currently working with certain media outlets who have been granted exclusive access to some of the News of the World emails we have," a tweet from the group's @LulzSec account reads.

IBRS' Turner argues that while there will always be teenagers and script kiddies out to prove themselves, the attention-seeking nature of Anonymous and LulzSec means that these "noisy, splashy hackers" days' may be numbered.

"Groups like LulzSec and Anonymous have raised their heads far too high above the wall," he says. "You will have many law enforcement agencies very determined to make sure this doesn't become a rallying cry: they will prosecute these guys.

"Agencies like the CIA face the double whammy: If they don't prosecute these guys then it makes them look like they are running a false flag operation so they are doubly incentivised to make sure these guys are brought to justice."

Ultimately, hacktivist groups may well fall victim to the relentless march of technology and become eclipsed by far more sophisticated, automated hacking techniques.

"They will be increasingly irrelevant as the real threat on the internet is the one we don't yet know about," Turner says. "For example, Stuxnet is now a blue print on the internet for bunker busters -- a completely automated hack attack.

"It was designed based on expert intelligence into the systems and wormed its way through multiple layers of defence-in-depth and it did it in an automated fashion. It wasn't reliant on a hacker monitoring its progress and exploring for the next layer before proceeding. That will inspire groups such as organised crime and nation states.

"With a little bit of homework they could develop something with complete plausible deniability and I think that is the real danger. When you are facing malware which has been specifically crafted for your organisation... then you have a problem."

The internet service provider community, via its industry body, the IIA, is also doing its part to thin the arsenal of weapons hacktivist groups, as well as organised crime, have access to.

Unsurprisingly, the IIA's Coroneos is keen to put forward the industry group's iCode as a powerful tool to curtail zombie computers and botnets, which are used to carry out DDoS attacks. The iCode would give ISPs the discretion to place infected customer machines into a 'walled garden' limiting access to the internet until the machines were cleaned.


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