A couple of months ago security pundits everywhere were making their predictions for the trends that would shape 2012. A clear winner in the trend stakes was that hacktivists would continue their attention-grabbing rise to prominence using our critical network infrastructure to make a point about the causes they support.
Last Thursday as the debate over SOPA intensified in Congress, the Justice Department and the FBI shutdown the popular file sharing site Megaupload and charged its executives with copyright infringement, racketeering, and money laundering. In retaliation Anonoymous, well known for its attacks on PayPal, Mastercard, and the Israeli Defense Forces web sites in 2011, launched denial of service attacks on the DOJ, the FBI, and major music and movie associations. The hacktivist coalition also threatened similar cyber attacks on members of Congress who continued to express their support for SOPA.
According to Imperva, Anonymous is using the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) application to launch its DDoS attacks. As has been pointed out, this is exactly the same technique Anonymous used to execute Operation Payback in 2011. And, sadly, as Anonymous themselves commented, the DOJ and the FBI should have probably seen this one coming.
So what can government agencies do to protect themselves from DDoS attacks?
- Knowledge: know who and what is trying to access your network
- Perspective: get a global perspective on what’s happening on the Internet
- Real-time Control: be able to respond to attacks in progress
To try and run a network without these three things and without the tools that enable them is like leaving your front door, not just unlocked, but wide open.