The term Hactivist is quite the buzz word lately, with everything from groups promoting social change to comic books and radio stations dedicated to this trendy word, people are beginning to lose sight of the dangers behind these activities.
Dictionary.com defines hactivism as “the practice of gaining unauthorized access to a computer system and carrying out various disruptive actions as a means of achieving or social goals”
With groups out there like Anonymous, touting thousands of followers who are claiming to pursue and combat political and social injustices, it’s important to understand the difference between activism and hacking – with the hactivism trend that line is becoming more and more blurred.
What organizations and agencies need to remember is that a hack is a hack is a hack. The fact that hacking has become the trendy thing to know/do has created a serious security problem. Unlike even just a few years ago, hackers no longer need to be IT experts in order to execute their breaches. All someone needs to know is some basic computer skills and have the ability to watch a few online videos that will help with the rest. With this capability now in the hands of everyone who wants it, for whatever means they deem “important”, it’s vital that organizations, both small and large, understand how to protect their sensitive corporate and customer data.
In February 2012* the group Anonymous, in an attempt to expose alleged corporate misconduct, hacked the Strategic Forecasting system and leaked some 5 million emails. Included in these emails were some 60,000 credit card numbers and the personal information of roughly 860,000 customers.
This hack was not just embarrassing for the organization; it was harmful to their customers and put a lot of people at risk.
Antivirus and anti-malware programs alone are not going to stop these Advanced Persistent Threats and highly-targeted cyber attacks. Organizations need to consider more advanced measures of protection, like whitelisting reinforced with managed administrative privileges and file origin tracking in order to lock-down and continuously monitor their environments against both internal and external threats.
If you have a few minutes, take a look at this Webinar with Viewfinity CEO, Leonid Shitlman and featured Gartner Analyst Neil MacDonald: "Application Control Gains Adoption By Providing Tighter Control Against Advanced Persistent Threats."