Security Wisdom Watch: Hacktivist all-stars edition

This month, let's look at the latest "hacktivist" activity in search of the bright side -- if that's even possible.

Thumbs down: Hector Xavier Monsegu -- This unemployed, 28-year-old father of two allegedly commanded LulzSec's international team of hackers from his nerve center in a public housing project on New York’s Lower East Side, using the nickname “Sabu.” His runaway ego led the authorities to his doorstep, and he ultimately ratted out some of his comrades. Some friend.

Thumbs both ways: CloudFlare -- CEO Matthew Prince recently disclosed that his company was part of what he described as an intense experience that was at times alarming, but ultimately quite educational, as his company provided security protection for the group everyone wanted to take down. "You can't pay for pen testing like this. Once we realized we were going to survive, it was actually kind of a fun experience for us," said Prince. No doubt the experience was valuable. We just hope this will lead to better intelligence against these groups and not end as just another fun experiment.

Thumbs up: Anonymous' attack on The Vatican -- No, we do not condone attacks on the Vatican or anyone else. But the happy result of this one is that security firm Imperva -- of which The Vatican is reportedly a customer -- got a gold mine of insight into how the group operates. Hopefully, the resulting report will help others harden their sites against attack.

Thumbs up: The FBI -- The real success of the agency's efforts has yet to be determined, but you have to give the FBI credit for its doggedness in going after these groups.

Thumbs down: Complacency -- After the LulzSec bust, some security experts were calling it a crippling blow to Anonymous. That kind of talk leads to complacency. It's also foolish to count Anonymous out, especially when one considers the attacks it has unleashed since the LulzSec bust.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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