The hacking collective known as anonymous has suffered a setback. It was announced this morning that Interpol arrested 25 people with ties to the activist group.
On Tuesday, Interpol said that it begun looking for the hackers as part of “Operation Unmask,” an initiative that launched in mid-February. The investigation was launched after Anonymous members claimed credit for denial of service attacks on the Colombian Ministry of Defense, presidential Web sites and an electric company in Chile, as well as an attack on the Web site of Chile’s National Library, the Associated Press reported.
As is customary with Anonymous, the group immediately sought revenge for the arrests, bringing down Interpol’s website briefly after the news broke.
The group made headlines earlier this week when it leaked information gathered from the Startfor Intelligence firm through Wikileaks. The website published an email obtained from Stratfor, an international affairs think tank, that alleges Pakistani intelligence and military officials were aware of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan.
Of course, Anonymous is not the only hacking group to turn their beliefs and frustrations into breached data. There have been several high profile incidents, whether initiated by an individual or a group, within the past few months that have wreaked havoc at major companies. Here are just a few:
- Sony — the company’s security policies have been questioned by several lawmakers after the electronics giant fell victim to more than a dozen cyber attacks since a major breach of its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services in May of last year.
- Google — In June, the web powerhouse announced that several U.S. government officials using its Gmail service were the target of a phishing scam. China was blamed but no proof was ever produced.
- RSA Security — Lockheed Martin suffered a “significant and tenacious” cyber attack in May that was believed to be the result of an earlier attack on RSA Security. RSA admitted in June that its security systems had been breached.
The arrest of Anonymous members comes on the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union address in which he called on Congress to pass “legislation that will secure our country from the growing dnagers of cyber threats.” Never has this been more necessary than now. In fact, Wired recently ran a piece calling cyberwar “the new yellowcake.” It quotes Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jack Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) as saying:
“Today’s cyber criminals have the ability to interrupt life-sustaining services, cause catastrophic economic damage, or severely degrade the networks our defense and intelligence agencies rely on. Congress needs to act on comprehensive cybersecurity legislation immediately.”
Strong words. And true.
The fact is, no matter how many members of Anonymous are arrested, there will always be another group or individual ready to inflict damage of organizations and governments via the internet. The only we can do is prepare to manage that risk.