Are spymasters targeting hacktivists?

Posted by Radu Tyrsina

With more and more cyber attacks against governments and corporations, there is a growing belief that hackers could be potentially be exploited or actively recruited by various government entities.

For example, cyber activists associated with Anonymous have targeted a number of servers belonging to the U.S. government, federal defense contractors and high-profile companies.

Are hacktivists vulnerable to goverment manipulation?Government advisor and chair of the International E-crime Congress, Simon Moores, recently warned that foreign sovereign powers like China could exploit such hacktivist networks for cyber espionage.

Moores even went so far as to compare the emergence of the hacktivists to the arrival of militant groups like the Red Brigade during the 1970s.

"If you have a LulzSec or an Anonymous that is perhaps being manipulated by a foreign actor, it takes us back to the days of the Stasi and the KGB, which were manipulating [anti-nuclear campaign group] quite easily from Moscow," the security expert said, referring to the Kremlin's infamous manipulation of the anti-nuclear peace movement.

Moores claimed that through online groups and forums, hackers can be easily persuaded to execute various tasks without truly understanding why.

"You could have the teenager hacker who thinks they’re doing something for the greater good by revealing information or attacking greedy billionaires, but in fact they are being manipulated for more sinister purposes by someone who has infiltrated their network. If you were a spy master wouldn’t you be doing that?"

[Via PcPro]