FBI Gave Warning To Hacktivists: You're Breaking The Law


FBI official in charge of cybercrime speaks for the first time with the media specifically about hacktivism. Last July, the FBI executed what is arguably its most public campaign against hacktivists—individuals who breach computer systems to make a political or ideological statement. On Tuesday, July 19, the G-men cuffed 12 men and two women allegedly associated with hacktivist group Anonymous for their supposed involvement in a dedicated denial of service (DDoS) attack against PayPal's website in December 2010. The July raid appeared to be the largest public indication that the FBI was finally making headway in its investigation of hacktivist activity during a year when groups including Anonymous and LulzSec made a mockery of public- and private-sector computer systems. Between December 2010 and August 2011 alone, they broke into dozens of corporate and government networks with outrage, defiance and glee. In fact, hacktivist activity had long been on the FBI's radar, according to Shawn Henry, executive assistant director of the FBI's Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch. He first noticed it in the late 1990s, when he was working as a supervisory special agent at FBI headquarters on computer intrusion cases. At the time, hacktivism consisted mostly of website defacements, he says. Today, it's more menacing. Consider the outcomes of just three data breaches launched in the name of hacktivism.


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