May 23, 2012

Dissecting A Hacktivist Attack

At the end of March 2012, the Lulzsec hackers had attacked and disclosed sensitive information on more than 170,000 members.

How did the hack occur?  What lessons can we learn?  The answer to these questions comprises our latest Hacker Intelligence Initiative report (HII), Dissecting A Hacktivist Attack (no registration required).

This report analyzes the anatomy of the attack methods deployed by the “new” Lulzsec. Overall, the attack, using Remote File Inclusion, is nothing new. But it underscores how today’s hackers adhere to Sun-Tzu’s maxim: “Strike where your enemy is most vulnerable.” RFI vulnerabilities are prevalent in PHP applications which comprise 77% of total applications on the web.

This attack also underscores the need for proper password encryption. In this case, archaic methods of password encryption meant hackers could decrypt the full list of passwords in just 9 hours.

Finally, military service professionals need to recognize that social networks are dangerous and that a different standard of involvement applies to men and women in uniform. As a special target for hacktivists and foreign hackers, the military should set policies in place for servicemen participating in social networks.

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