Cyber-attacks have dominated headlines this summer as government agencies, large organizations and small businesses have been hit by malware, distributed-denial-of-service attacks and network intrusions. On the personal front, individuals’ email and social networking accounts have been hijacked.
Most cyber-attackers are motivated by money, whether it’s by looting bank accounts or selling stolen information to other criminals, said Josh Shaul, CTO of Application Security. However, there’s been a surge in politically motivated attacks in the past few months as a number of groups—including the notorious hacker collective Anonymous—turned to cyber-attacks as a form of protest.
PandaLabs researchers predicted this past December that the cyber-protests that have added the word “hacktivism” to the English language will continue to grow in frequency because it’s been so effective in getting attention.
In the past few months, even hacktivism has been transformed as tactics and motivations have evolved. In the past, cyber-protesters generally defaced Websites or launched DDoS attacks to express their discontent.
In these DDoS attacks, Websites were overwhelmed with large volumes of server and database requests and became inaccessible to legitimate site visitors. For the most part, the majority of hacktivists relied on low-tech techniques for its activities, Shaul said.