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News

Social Unrest Drives Higher Cyber Criminal Activity

Prolexic Technologies : 25 August, 2011  (Technical Article)
Prolexic makes cyber attack prediction in near term based on global social unrest according to a recent report from the company
Social Unrest Drives Higher Cyber Criminal Activity
Prolexic Technologies expects cyber attacks against companies and governments to increase in the near-term as a result of recent global social unrest.

According to Prolexic’s Chief Executive Officer Scott Hammack, hacktivism – using computers and computer networks as a means of protest to promote political ends – is likely to increase in both the short and long-term. “Countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal, Israel and most recently the U.K. have all experienced demonstrations or social unrest and we expect this activism will soon spill over into the digital realm,” said Hammack. “The same mentality and discontent that motivates someone to take to the streets is easily transferred to cyber attacks against governments and major corporations.”

For the last eight years, Prolexic has monitored Internet attack traffic from its Security Operations Center on behalf of its clients. Prolexic has tracked a rise in attack traffic over the last few weeks, and as a result, the Company has increased its own internal threat barometer from “elevated” to “high”.

Hammack believes it is only a matter of time before the number of DDoS attacks against leading businesses and government agencies increases.  “Our intelligence indicates that hacktivist tools are evolving rapidly.  As a result, we expect the frequency of attacks will increase and they will be more successful unless organizations upgrade their defenses.”

In a report issued on August 10 entitled, “Hype Cycle for Infrastructure Protection, 2011,” industry analyst firm Gartner predicts that DDoS defence will achieve mainstream adoption in less than two years and lists it as “highly beneficial” on its Priority Matrix.

“Gartner client calls on DDoS have increased and DDoS services are nearing ‘must-have’ status,” said John Pescatore, vice president and research fellow at Gartner in the Hype Cycle report.  “Any Internet-enabled application that requires guaranteed levels of availability should employ DDoS protection to meet those requirements.”

Since 2003, Prolexic has been protecting Internet facing infrastructures against all known types of DDoS attacks at the network, transport and application layers with a distributed global network of scrubbing centers.  By dedicating more bandwidth to attack traffic than any other provider – supplemented by proprietary tools, techniques, and experienced security experts – Prolexic has been able to handle the largest and most sophisticated DDoS attacks ever launched.

“It’s interesting to note that more and more threats received from hacktivists are not financially motivated.  It is a power play, plain and simple,” said Hammack.  “We often see extortion as motivation for a DDoS attack where the objective is to extract money from a company in return for not taking down its web site.  In the near future, we are more likely to see hacktivists using the threat of DDoS attacks to control a company’s actions.”

Hammack believes hacktivism is entering a new era defined by increasing activity.  “We know that the tools used by hacktivists and cyber attackers are becoming much more effective and the list of targets is increasing,” said Hammack.  “Hacktivism is not something that will quietly fade away.  It’s here to stay and that’s why organizations who are victimized by these large and increasingly sophisticated DDoS attacks need a company like Prolexic so they can continue conducting business as usual.”
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