Voices: Hacktivism

Tech experts debate the politics of attacks on corporate and government websites.

Rita Cleary, centre, the mother of British teenager Ryan Cleary, accused of carrying out a series of cyber attacks, is helped to get through the crowd of media by police officers in London, Thursday June 23, 2011. (Photo: Matt Dunham/AP)

Tech experts debate the politics of attacks on corporate and government websites.

Aaron Almeida
After the Sony PlayStation Network was hacked, hacker group LulzSec and Anonymous have literally wreaked havoc on the Internet. What may be the hacking coalition of the year, Anonymous and LulzSec together announced the forming of AntiSec. These two organizations have forged what some companies would term an “unholy alliance.”

Jesus Diaz
Could this movement help change the world for the better? With the growing worldwide discontent against the political and financial establishment—in my home country and all through Europe people are organizing to fight corrupted politicians and their greedy fat owners—I wonder if this may very well be the beginning of our May 1968. That was the time when the young French generations stood up against the government. Opening the vaults of dark secrets and exposing corruption everywhere would certainly help toward that goal: real change. Perhaps this is just the beginning of a quiet and angry revolution that will make the world a better place.

Bill Brenner
IT Security expert
Call me humorless. Call me a moaner. I don’t care. Companies that are lax on security need to be exposed, for sure. But the LulzSec approach wasn’t the way to do it. When you attack someone for fun, all you do is contribute to the picture some execs have of security pros as young punks who care more about notoriety than about helping them secure their infrastructure. When you attack someone to make a point, the results aren’t much better. LulzSec may have folded, but don’t doubt for a second that the members are done with their games. They’ll be back in some other form, under some other name, with some other agenda. This is the new normal, unfortunately.

Loz Kaye
Leader, Pirate Party U.K.
As long as it seems that direct action is more effective than democratic engagement, it’s clear that the former will appear a more attractive option to many. The official line that the Internet is a dangerous territory to be subdued is responsible for an alarming radicalisation. This is not just an issue for the tabloids’ oddballs and nerds, it’s an issue for everyone who believes in the fundamental importance of freedom. It’s time for governments to turn their ship around and plot a new course.

Rafal Los
HP Application security
The hijacking of a cause like “social injustice” can lead to hacking of government, government sympathizers, and then who-knows-what if rogue agents from within the crowd jump in. This makes predictability and intelligence almost impossible, unless you have a brilliant system of intelligence backing the effort. So hacktivism then, like every other type of active threat, requires excellent intelligence to protect against.