Hacker arrests may expose entire group

2011-07-22 10:45

kalahari.com

Washington - The FBI's arrest this week of 16 people who allegedly participated in high-profile cyber attacks is providing a treasure trove of information and will lead to further arrests, said a US law enforcement official.

The crackdown - on members of the group Anonymous - was the biggest reaction so far by US authorities to a string of cyber attacks, and was meant to serve as a deterrent to others who may be considering joining the cause.

The arrests spanned nine states and the District of Columbia. FBI agents also executed more than 35 search warrants, seizing computers and other records. Those arrested could try to strike plea agreements offering to provide information to win treatment that is more lenient.

Some private cyber security specialists have questioned whether the raids will have much lasting impact.

"This is the good example of a significant event that successfully removed a number of individuals from being part of the problem and will certainly lead to information that will result in locating other subjects," said the law enforcement official.

Priority

The official declined to be further identified while speaking about an ongoing law enforcement investigation.

Members of Anonymous mounted attacks in 2010 against eBay's PayPal as well as Visa and Mastercard after the companies severed their relationships with the WikiLeaks organisation. The attacks included flooding the sites with data trying to render them inoperable.

The arrests included members of Anonymous at various levels of the loose-knit organisation, the official said. The official declined to comment on whether they knew each other.

While attacks by Anonymous and related "hacktivist" groups have drawn wide attention, other cyber crimes aimed at espionage are a higher priority for the FBI. The latter have included intrusions at Google, Lockheed Martin and the International Monetary Fund.

"We didn't pull resources away from those higher priority cases to work this," the official said.

It remains an open question whether the arrests will have the desired deterrent effect. Anonymous and another hacking group, Lulz Security, issued a statement on Thursday saying they would continue their efforts.

"I think they [the FBI] are trying to send a signal that this isn't cost-free in the hopes that it will scare off some of the others. If we're lucky it will work," said James Lewis, a cyber security expert with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

Stiff sentences

The law enforcement official said that people allegedly involved in the cyber attacks probably did not realise the risks of prison time and that prosecutors would likely seek stiff sentences. Those arrested, if convicted, could face up to 10 years in prison for trying to damage a protected computer.

"They're probably not the types of people who have been prepared for any time in jail. This is not a joke," the official said. "The reality of the fact that this is both a crime and that people will be actually doing time in jail I think really hasn't sunk in to a lot of people who are getting involved in these activities."

Lewis said one possible benefit from the cyber attacks is that it will lead network and website administrators to beef up their security.

"These guys exploit poor configuration, and that's the simplest thing to fix but there's just so much of it out there it will take a while," Lewis said.

Read more on:    fbi  |  cybercrime
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
8 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Cape Town - 16:15 PM
    Road name: Wet Weather
    RAIN across the greater Cape Town area - drive with care and use headlights - Allow Extra Tavel Time
  • Friday Kuils River - 09:28 AM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Torch 9810

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 gives you the powerful combination of...

From R2790.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The day may have a fluctuating sensitive energy to begin with, but later when the Moon moves into dramatic and creative Leo you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.