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 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Just a simple point...

    "Aren't these the same people who thought that killing Bin Laden would stop Al Qaeda? Hows that working for ya?"

    Actually, it's working out pretty well. AQ is now very disorganized, with various lower level players all trying to act like they are running the group, as not only was Bin Laden taken out, but so were many of his key underlings over the same 12 month period.

    "This isn't a crime ring, this doesn't fit your precious precious model of how things are supposed to work."

    Yes, it's a crime ring. They don't have to be strictly organized and regimented to quality. It's a group of people with the same goals, to perpetrate illegal acts, to hack systems, and to cause problems for companies that oppose their points of view.

    It's clear from every news story I am seeing today (and there are plenty) that anonymous was much more structured than anyone wants to admit, and a whole lot of the key players in the game are signed up for training on how not to drop the soap. 16 people so far today from what I can see, plus some at least 4 or 5 overseas nationals charged directly in the US and face extradition.

    CNN even quotes "Barrett Brown, who identifies as an Anonymous spokesman" - again, why would a flat, loose group have a spokesman, or have anyone who feels they are a spokesman? That seems to be another indication of what is really going on.

    "FBI stacks 124 yrs against someone living in public housing caring for 2 small children."

    You don't want to do the time? Don't do the crime. Plain and simple, when it came down to it, saving his ass was way more important than saving his "friends". Stop making it look like this guy didn't do anything wrong.

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