NATO Threatens to "Persecute" Anonymous Hacktivists

Thursday, June 02, 2011

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General Rapporteur Lord Jopling has produced a draft report for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly which states that the rogue hacktivist group known as Anonymous "could potentially hack into sensitive government, military, and corporate files," according to a report by Thinq.

"Today, the ad hoc international group of hackers and activists is said to have thousands of operatives and has no set rules or membership," the NATO report warns.

"It remains to be seen how much time Anonymous has for pursuing such paths. The longer these attacks persist the more likely countermeasures will be developed, implemented, the groups will be infiltrated and perpetrators persecuted," the report states.

News of the NATO report comes amidst an increase in cyber security rhetoric being issued by western governments.

A recently released Obama administration report on international cyber security coordination has provides the strongest indications to date that cyber attacks against a NATO member nation could invoke retaliatory actions under the treaty's mutual defense doctrine.

"The United States will ensure that the risks associated with attacking or exploiting our networks vastly outweigh the potential benefits," the document said.

The British government has openly suggested that the U.K is gearing up to bolster computer network defenses by initiating the development of new cyber offensive tools for their arsenal.

"Our forces depend on computer networks, both in the UK and in operations around the world. But our adversaries present an advance and rapidly developing threat to these networks," the MoD said in the statement.

A soon to be finalized Pentagon cyber strategy will outline the circumstances in which an attack against U.S. computer networks could be considered an act of war and potentially elicit an armed military response.

Exactly how these declarations will extend to threats posed by non-state-sponsored entities such as Anonymous is yet to be seen.

Most recently, Anonymous launched a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website with mixed success.

The campaign was launched in protest of the Protect IP Act, a legislative proposal that would essentially cut off U.S. Internet users from accessing any website the government decides is blatantly in violation of copyright infringements, as well as any site that attempts to mirror the offender's content.

Anonymous also recently targeted Sony with a DDoS attack campaign in early April, but called off the assault after receiving backlash from Sony customers who did not appreciate the network downtime. When the network failed again due to the network breach, Anonymous issued a press release on April 22 that sought to dispel any notion that the movement had taken part in the latest PSN outage.

Anonymous is also known for having breached the systems of HBGary Federal - a security company who was involved in efforts to reveal the identities of the Anonymous leadership - and for defacing the website of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church.

Anonymous has also previously targeted the websites of PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, PostFinance Bank, Amazon, Bank of America and others who had halted business relations with WikiLeaks, as well as also launching attacks against the websites of Senator Joe Lieberman and Sarah Palin for speaking out against the WikiLeaks data dumps.

The full NATO document can be viewed HERE.

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Headlines Network Security Anonymous Hacktivist National Security hackers NATO HBGary Federal U.S. Chamber of Commerce
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