May Day computer hackers lie low

Matt Tomlinson, business development director at security firm MIS, said that last year’s threats spawned a lot of worry for UK companies. ‘Just before last year’s protests we saw a lot of corporates getting their IT security sorted out. They were in a bit of a panic about internet based attacks.’

But this year the underground seems to be much quieter. ‘Businesses have a more mature attitude this time round,’ he said. ‘They’ve got more confidence in their infrastructure.’

But Tomlinson warned UK companies that the May Day protest movement did signal a growing trend of socially motivated hacking groups.

He pointed out that this year has seen a multitude of web defacements under social concern banners, from the oil crisis to cannabis legalisation and, more recently, with US hackers attacking Chinese websites and vice versa.

‘Last week, even the German government called for German-based hackers to attack other European websites hosting neo-Nazi content,’ he said.

Tomlinson added that socially concerned hackers are benefiting from a larger and more organised hacking community, making them a more dangerous force in the online world.

‘Groups such as the e-hippie collective, which attacks ebusinesses, are boasting around 15,000 members worldwide,’ he explained. So just because it’s all quiet out there, doesn’t mean nothing will happen.

‘Corporates still have a reason to be worried. There’s nothing to say groups won’t carry out denial of service attacks, which are hard to defend against,’ he added.


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