U.S. law enforcement official announced this week that five ‘hacktivists’ have been apprehended. The individuals in question were associated with major hacking operations Anonymous and LulzSec. Both operations had attacked a range of business and governmental interests in the United States including media firms and companies that work in the financial services sector.
Robert Mueller, speaking at last week's RSA security conference, commented on the need to combat the corrosive forces of hackers and others that would spread malware into business and government systems: "We must cultivate the sources necessary to infiltrate criminal online networks, to collect the intelligences, to prevent the next attack and to topple the network from inside."
The hackers apprehended this week were caught in part due to law enforcement's ability to ‘flip’ others they had caught previously. Even though standard law enforcement methods were in play, modern techniques involving technology were also important. In fact, the FBI would not say exactly how one of the hacktivists was apprehended. Targets of the attacks included such entities as Fox Broadcasting, the HBGary security firm, Sony Pictures, and Stratfor, a private business that conducts geopolitical analysis for governments and other organizations.
Still, law enforcement authorities have a long way to go before all hackers, or even all major hacktivists are removed from the scene. In the meantime, it is up to businesses to protect themselves. One of the best ways to do this is through a managed services approach. In this model for IT services, a managed services company provides remote monitoring of security and other matters as specified in a service-level agreement.