Cyber Protesting on the Rise

A trending story caught my eye today-around the world, protestors are hacking government Web sites.


On the European Union site, instead of a photo of the Spanish Prime Minister, there was a picture of British television character Mr. Bean.


In the Philippines, several government sites were attacked, months before the country's first automated elections.


The general thought is that the defacing of these government Web sites is the 21st century form of protesting. In most cases, the Web sites aren't attacked with malicious software; instead, the hackers want to make a statement, in this case, about their political agenda.


It's not just political sites, either. Any business or organization is at risk for a cyber protest or attack from disgruntled ex-employees, unhappy customers, or people who don't share the same belief system, as a Boulder, Colo., synagogue experienced.


You are most at risk if your site is an easy target, wrote Laura Wheeler in a blog at Gift Business Owners:


"You see, 99.9% of hack attempts are AUTOMATED. A hacker creates a script that is designed to look for common exploit opportunities on a site-it will try common usernames and passwords, it will look for vulnerabilities in your site, and try different things. If it strikes out, it moves on. If it succeeds, it does it's dirty work, and either flags your site for repeat dirty work, or moves on. More often than not, your site is marked as an easy target, so even if you clean it up, if you don't go far enough, they'll come back."


To prevent your site from being the target of a cyber protest, the best thing is to make sure all the potential holes -- whether cross-site scripting or otherwise -- in your Web site and network are closed.

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