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.

Filed Under: anonymous, bottom up, fbi, hacking, lulzsec, top down


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Mar 2012 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Just a simple point...

    ""AQ is now very disorganized,"
    [CITATION NEEDED]

    Because if this were true would we be having our private parts fondled by TSA workers to keep us "safe"?"

    Sorry, you are making a logical leap which is not supported by the evidence.

    That AQ is disorganized, with massive in-fighting between factions, with all sorts of people claiming leadership roles, and so on. However, that doesn't make the individual players less dangerous. Most of what AQ has done in the last few years (since Bin Ladin became Been Hiding) has been lone wolf and small scale operations, mostly started and done at lower levels, and with little in the way of success. Where as there use to be a pretty clear top down command structure, it's now an army of worker ants with no particular goals, and little in the way of leadership.

    It doesn't make them less dangerous, if anything it makes it more likely that a single person or small group may try something that the leadership would not have approved of in the past. During this time, it's actually still very likely that we see more attacks.

    The difference is time - over time, the power of AQ to recruit new members, to hold sway over the population is lost, and they become a less acceptable choice.

    Nothing happens in a day, and that is why you can still enjoy having someone fondle your junk when you on a plane.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.