We asked our Zintro experts to comment on the recent news that several members of the hacker group “Anonymous” have been arrested and what it means to the future of internet security.
Scott Duperron, an executive in governance, risk, security, and compliance, thinks that the arrests will mean very little to overall internet security. “We need to first understand the nature of the attacks and the motivation of the perpetrators as a component of a threat analysis,” says Duperron. “It’s necessary to have a cursory understanding of the characters and psychological profiles of the purported ringleader and participants of the ethereal group Anonymous (aka LutzSec).The reason why a psychological profile needs to be considered is to determine the intent that will be directly related to the nature of internet attacks.”
Duperron says that if the intent is to be ‘disruptive’ for self-aggrandizement purposes as opposed to criminal profit, the method, severity, and skills involved will differ as well as the consequences to the victim organization. If the more skilled and compulsive of the participants find themselves in trouble and are then solicited by criminal organizations with a promise of helping them extricate themselves from a difficult situation, the consequences will be direr.
“If the FBI penetrated the group and turned one of the self-appointed leaders into a mole by threatening him with a very long incarceration, then dangerous criminal organizations can, and will do the same,” he says. “The potential (perhaps inevitable) criminal penetration of groups such as Anonymous, in my estimation, is where the significance is to be measured in terms of what this means to internet security.” With the complete absence of an organizational structure and with only the widest brush strokes of ‘raison d’être’ (besides jumping on the latest cause to justify being disruptive), Doperron thinks it is difficult to define Anonymous as a group of anything.
Pablojr, an information security specialist, thinks that the race started by Anonymous will be continued by other activists and hackers. “Society is so dependent on information technology at this time that there is a lot at stake in terms of valuable treasure for a lot of individuals and organizations,” he says. “We may expect some slowdowns, some changes in tactics or strategies, but work to protect assets will continue and increase.”
Aaron Weller, an information privacy and security consultant, says these arrests will not have any lasting impact on the future of internet security. “In the short term, the remaining elements of Anonymous will likely become paranoid and possibly lower key. Other elements will strike back at the authorities however they can,” he says. “Anonymous’ problem is that because of its high profile successes, it has made itself more of a target for law enforcement. An unfortunate side effect of their activities is the response by governments to attempt to further regulate and criminalize these kind of attacks, which will likely impose additional restrictions on legitimate uses of the internet.”
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