Feeds

Greek police cuff Anonymous spokesman suspect

First 'cyberwar' dismissed as tech hit-and-run vandalism

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Greek police have reportedly arrested a web designer whose name appeared in a press release issued by online hacktivists Anonymous last week.

The PDF-format press release outlined Anonymous' loose-knit structure and immediate objectives of launching online attacks against organisations that have severed commercial ties with Wikileaks. The properties of the document contained the name of the author, Alex Tapanaris, who has now become a suspect in the case.

Dutch police have previously arrested two other suspected members of Anonymous, including a 16-year-old who allegedly used the group's LOIC packet-flooding tool to attack Mastercard.

By default, the LOIC tool does not disguise the origins of IP packets and the same less-than-stellar approach to anonymity would seem to go for statements issued on behalf of Anonymous.

Anonymous is a loosely-knit group whose membership and objectives shift over time. Several spokespeople have come forward to speak for the collective since it came to mainstream media attention with its support for Wikileaks and attacks against Mastercard, PayPal et al over the last week or so. These attacks probably are best understood as an offshoot of the much earlier Operation:Payback campaign against entertainment industry websites that started back in September.

Security blogger Gary Warner has compiled an informative analysis on the origins and psychological motives of Anonymous here.

Thus far, distributed denial service attacks against targeted websites have been the main stock-in-trade of Anonymous. The tactic involves peppering websites with junk requests to such an extent that systems are unable to service genuine visitors, causing sites to become unavailable. Meanwhile patriot hackers opposed to Anonymous have launched counter-attacks on websites used by Anonymous.

All this has sparked excited talk of "cyberwar", but the reality is that attacks from either side are neither particularly fierce nor sophisticated, according to an analysis by DDoS mitigation firm Arbor Networks.

“Despite the thousands of tweets, press articles and endless hype, most of the attacks over the last week were both relatively small and unsophisticated," said Arbor Networks’ chief scientist Craig Labovitz. "In short, other than the intense media scrutiny, the attacks were unremarkable."

"So ultimately, I’d suggest the last week of DDoS attacks surrounding Wikileaks supporters and opponents falls far short of a “cyberwar”. While it makes a far less sexy headline, cyber-vandalism may be a more apt description." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.