Did you hear about the big Anonymous hack of earlier this week?
No? That’s not too surprising because the plans fizzled out.
It could have been a big deal. It should have been a big deal. Two weeks ago, Anonymous posted on Pastebin that the hacker group was going to “hurt them where it hurts the most” and listed a very long target list that included government agencies and banks. The post ended with a reminder that Anonymous is the boss of the Internet. And according to InformationWeek, other organizations that wreak havoc on the Internet supported the Anonymous mission and “promised to take the week off.”
But this time, it appears that these institutions were prepared for the Anonymous attack. As InformationWeek pointed out:
"… in the lead-up to OpUSA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security appeared to expect similar low-level attacks aimed to publicize attackers' anti-U.S. grievances but that would cause little lasting damage. In a confidential DHS memo issued last week and obtained by security reporter Brian Krebs, DHS said the attacks "likely will result in limited disruptions and mostly consist of nuisance-level attacks against publicly accessible webpages and possibly data exploitation."
In other words, no one was taken by surprise. The outages that did occur were small and did cause minor disruptions (although I realize that no disruption to an individual organization is minor if it means annoyed customers). That these entities were prepared and planned ahead for a possible hack shows that, well, maybe you can prepare and plan ahead for a possible hack. It is a matter of being aware and knowing what you are dealing with.
Because the Anonymous attack didn’t go as planned this time doesn’t mean there won’t be other attempts. And other groups are out there, more sophisticated than Anonymous and its spin-offs, who will plan bigger, more lethal attacks that will work. But seeing how easily Anonymous could create a news story with the hack of a government entity in the not-so-distant past, this fizzled attack is definitely a step in the right direction.