Corporate World seeks Insurance against Ongoing Hacker Attacks

by Jeff Wiener on June 16, 2011

Throughout history all one ever needed to form a gang was a group of disenfranchised people in the same location, lured with a sense of belonging and rallied around a common purpose. In the technological age the same principles apply, only that now location really has nothing to do with it, as gangs of cybercriminals are able to operate in concert with each other despite the fact that their members are scattered across the globe.

So as the rash of hacker attacks continues, one can quickly see why it’s so hard to stop them, as it’s like searching for a needle in a stack of, well, needles. It’s clear that hackers themselves know that their clandestine and often foreign locations make them difficult to stop, allowing them to conduct brazen and daring attacks on our technological infrastructure.

But with each new day bringing new reports of hacker attacks, this week alone seeing attacks on Nintendo and a U.S. Senate database, who are these groups of cybercriminals that have brought companies to their knees and why are they doing what they do?

Its shocking to me that the various hackers have become so cocksure about their anonymity and abilities that some of even opened telephone hotlines that allow people to phone in and suggest targets for hacker attacks. But are these hacker attacks really as random as all that, selecting their targets in a phone-in unpopularity contest?

The two primary hacker groups in the recent attacks on Sony, Honda, Nintendo, the U.S. Senate et al. are Anonymous and relative newcomer LulzSec. The former considers itself to be a group of technological freedom fighters of sorts, protesting the various injustices of the tech world and targeted the perpetrators in often devastating hacker attacks. While still unsubstantiated, many consider Anonymous to be behind the attacks on Sony, retaliation for the company’s legal crackdown on Playstation 3 hackers and modifiers.

While some of us may be able to comprehend such protestations, however misguided in my mind, what is far more dangerous are hackers that have no principles, no guidelines, and no purpose. LulzSec, a decentralized group of talented hackers, is one such group; a splinter of Anonymous who has publicly stated that it has no political or social agenda. Instead, LulzSec—a combination of LOL (laugh out loud) and security—hackers simply like to hack, choosing targets, like PBS for instance, seemingly at random.

So who profits from all this? It’s rare when hackers actually steal money, although credit card info is certainly a target. But if you want to know the real winner though, it’s truly the insurance companies.

At a loss for how to stop these hacks, the corporate world is increasingly turning to hacker insurance, purchasing expensive policies that would protect companies against theft and loss of information. Its really a last ditch effort in a battle that companies seem to have already lost, as even the companies entrusted with our online security are themselves victims of hacks.

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