Anonymous and the like have plagued corporations and government entities alike for years now, and despite dozens of arrests, attacks are as prevalent as ever. Everyone’s finally waking up to the problem, and it’s a huge boon to the geeks we’ve been ignoring for years.
The New York Times reports from the RSA security conference where security experts both public and private are are celebrating their newfound importance. Hardly a week passes when we don’t hear about a fresh breach at a major corporation or government organisation. In all likelihood, the hack was result of some glaring security oversight, or worse, the intruders were let in by some hapless employee who clicked the wrong link. Just like that, state secrets, customer credit card info or employee Social Security numbers are compromised.
Thanks to all of these attacks, the IT nerds companies begrudgingly paid and ignored whenever possible are suddenly valuable. They’ve been telling us all for years we were going to get hacked, and now that the threat finally seems real, we’re actually taking them seriously and paying them plenty to make sure we’re in the clear.
“Anonymous is a wake-up call,” said Roger Cressey, senior vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, a defence and intelligence contractor that was attacked by the group last summer. “Any company that is patting themselves on the back and saying that they’re not a target or not susceptible to attack is in complete and utter denial.”
More to the point, a company that is a target of Anonymous may also be the target of a far more potent adversary. The social engineering tactics that Anonymous members have repeatedly used are often similar to those used by criminal hackers and state-sponsored actors who penetrate company systems in order to steal valuable secrets, whether for monetary gain or competitive edge.
Researchers have always operated under a kind of fatalism when it comes to hackers: If you haven’t been hacked yet, you will be. That’s a terrifying thing to hear if you’re the government or a huge corporation. Unfortunately — or fortunately — the problem is so glaring, and the stakes are so high, that the powers that be can’t just close their eyes, and pretend the digital boogeymen in Guy Fawkes masks won’t ever come. [New York Times]