By Tim Wilson
April 19, 2010
An emerging wave of politically motivated cyberattacks is reaching
critical mass and threatens to redefine the way enterprises build their
defenses, according to a report that will be published tomorrow.
The report, compiled by well-known botnet researcher Gunter Ollmann of
Damballa, offers a comprehensive look at the recent trend toward
politically motivated cyberprotests, sometimes called hacktivism. While
such organized mass attacks on specific targets are best known for being
carried out against rival governments (think Estonia or Georgia) and
large companies (think Project Aurora), the new report shows
"cyberprotests" can be carried out against any organization, and for
"These types of attacks focus on all types of topics, and they can be
executed by thousands of users or even just a few," Ollmann observes.
"They open a much wider door of potential attacks on corporations, and
they are increasingly difficult to defend because they don't necessarily
involve true criminal behavior, and they could be carried out by your
The report offers numerous examples of hacktivism in recent years,
including the defacement of hundreds of Dutch websites in August 2008 by
Islamic protesters over the release of the film Fitna, and last summer's
distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on Iranian government sites
by supporters of defeated presidential candidates who claimed
irregularities in the voting.
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