IT'S WAR: Hacktivists throw in their lot with spies and the military

Code develops into a major weapon

Propaganda war

Much of this has been a medium-term concern among infosec circles for some time. Video of a presentation by Mikko Hyppönen, chief research officer at F-Secure, at RSA 2012 discussing terrorist use of the internet can be found here.

The talk mentions jihadi use of malware and a case of money laundering using stolen credit cards and online poker games, but it mostly focuses on terrorist use of the internet to spread propaganda, with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's Inspire magazine cited as an example.

While some say the internet has always been a militarised environment where governments and others have played out their agendas, one thing that has changed is that the tools for creating havoc are more readily available than ever.

Commercial enterprises can find themselves under attack as they become pawns in international disputes. Enterprises also stand at risk of becoming collateral damage of indiscriminate attempts to disrupt the assets of opposing groups and beliefs.

In the face of such threats, corporates would be well-advised to batten down the hatches, in particular taking the trouble to secure social media accounts.

Edward Parsons, senior manager at KPMG’s cyber-security practice, commented: "Companies need to protect themselves from similar incidents by treating corporate social media accounts with the same governance and protection as you would apply to any corporate account. They must also ensure that internet-facing services are patched regularly to remediate vulnerabilities that could be exploited in an attack, furthermore there needs to be a tried and tested response mechanism in place." ®

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