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The hacktivist threat to enterprise security
This article is part of the Information Security magazine issue of October 2012
Ask Adam O'Donnell the difference between hacktivists today and those 15 years ago or more, and you won't get a simple answer. Technology has changed, social norms are different and political motivations are diverse. "Back then there was less interest in the techniques of breaking into people's systems and exposing data that you see today," says O'Donnell, a noted antimalware expert and early hacker before he founded Immunet, which was acquired by security vendor Sourcefire. "Today it's like a decentralized religion; there's an ethos and anyone can label themselves of being part of it… and some groups are more bent in one direction or another, but they're all under the same value system: sticking a finger in the eye of the man." Indeed, today's hacktivists – notably those affiliated with Anonymous – are slightly different than the original hacktivists groups, such as Cult of the Dead Cow (cDc). Experts say the cDc was more centralized, granting membership to individuals based on their skills. The cDc's aim mainly was to defend ...
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Features in this issue
A successful threat management program requires effective processes, layered technology and user education.
With their goal of damaging corporate reputations, hacktivists aren't your average cybercriminals.
Security researchers are finding more malware that attacks multiple operating systems.
Columns in this issue
Companies are under pressure to take advantage of big data analytics but they should be aware of the risks.
Unless security is viewed as a core function instead of an add-on, we're bound to repeat the mistakes of the past.
In the wake of recent exploits, experts recommend disabling the programming language but that can be tricky in the enterprise.