Attacking The Hacker Hydra: Why FBI's LulzSec Takedown May Backfire

from the top-down-approach-to-a-bottom-up-threat dept

Interesting timing. Just about the same time that we had our story concerning how LulzSec kept its own site from getting hacked, the news was breaking that the key leaders of LulzSec were being arrested, in large part because the "leader" of the group had become an FBI informant after they tracked him down last year. Of the various hacking efforts out there, LulzSec has definitely been the most brazen, so it's not a huge surprise that it would be targeted by the FBI. Also, unlike "Anonymous," LulzSec was pretty clearly an effort by a few key individuals, rather than a loose collective of folks joining and leaving at will.

As I've been saying since these various groups started their various hacking and vandalism campaigns, I think these efforts are a really bad idea, and don't do much to further the supposed causes that they're trying to support. They're only going to lead to backlash, as we're already seeing in government officials using these groups as an excuse to try to make a power grab over the wider internet.

Given that, as I've said in the past, I haven't been surprised to see the various arrests of folks supposedly associated with Anonymous or LulzSec. I expect that we'll continue to hear such stories -- in part because these kinds of stories are likely to provoke more of the same type of activity. Law enforcement keeps claiming that these arrests will frighten off others, but that shows a typical lack of understanding of what's going on. As counterproductive as these activities are, it's pretty clear that this isn't about criminal activity for the sake of criminal activity, but about dissatisfaction with what's going on in the world -- and, as such, the arrests are actually only likely to create more such activity, which is the exact opposite of what law enforcement should be seeking to do.

Not understanding who they're dealing with, and taking a top down approach to a bottom up threat, seems to be a specialty of US law enforcement.

Again, I think that the actual efforts by these folks are incredibly counterproductive and set up this "battle-siege" mentality, when the folks involved in all of this could be much more strategic in using their skills for good, rather than destruction. But that doesn't mean that we should ignore the reality of why it's happening, or how it's likely to continue to evolve. More groups will pop up, more hacks will happen and (I'm sure) more disaffected skilled computer hackers will be arrested. But none of that (either the hacking or the arrests) is likely to bring us any closer to actually dealing with the problems that created this mentality in the first place.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2012 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: I don't really understand

    No I actually I mean recruit some smart kids by promising them they will get to play with cool high tech toys that the general public doesn't know about and promising them future jobs (much like the Content Cartels do with Congress). Teach them the the basics and give them some undercover training. Then unofficially "authorized" them to do some of the same deeds that the groups do but only ones that are really more of an annoyance than anything else like defacing websites, short term DDOS attacks on sites that really really aren't critical to much of anything, etc. to give them some credibility. Then let them infiltrate the groups. But don't bust anybody unless the do something important like collapse a major financial institution or something like that. Instead use the information you get to go after targets of mutual interest like the leaders of the Mexican Drug Cartels. However everything is done covertly. I'm talking about using them as an INTELLIGENCE RESOURCE.

    Wait a second. That would mean the FBI would have to be smart, practical and actually care about taking down those mutual targets that are a threat to the public instead of making a big token bust for the Media every now and then to sell the need for the continued increase of defense spending budgets and more enforcement efforts. What was I thinking?

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