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Infosec 2013: 'Malevolent' hacktivists to get hold of advanced state-sponsored malware

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Analysts at Infosecurity 2013 predicted that although the practice of hacktivism by groups such as Anonymous may quieten down this year, any attacks could become more malevolent and advanced.

Andrew Rose, principal security and risk analyst at Forrester research, said, "You look at the ways they attack, and it has been distributed denial-of-service for quite a while, an annoyance to organisations. But I think lately we've started to see more malevolence from them."

Rose used last year's attack on Saudi oil company Saudi Aramco as an example, with malware infecting its systems and its official Twitter account being hacked last month.

He said: "I suspect that's going to be a trend carrying on. They've seen that they have the power and capability to do damage to organisations now. I suspect hacktivists will continue that threat.

"I don't want to start using terms like digital terrorism, but we're starting to see organisations more at risk of damage and destruction. People will not be doing this just for financial reasons, but for ideological reasons as well."

Rose went on further to say the number of state sponsored hacks had become "intolerable", and that it would be interesting to see whether governments and political powers would continue to refer to "unnamed countries" doing damage, rather than putting political pressure to make it "unacceptable".

Bob Tarzey, analyst and director at Quocirca, believed that worryingly, hacktivists and cyber criminals would get hold of sophisticated advanced malicious tools such as Stuxnet, and use them as they saw fit. 

He said, "We're going to see a situation where lower order criminals use state-level technology."
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