I’m really not certain today how I feel about this all anymore.
I have written before about the potential for very small groups of people, suitably organised, technically skilled and motivated, to cause mayhem and deny access to public services for political purposes. The potential costs to the public purse of these rogue elements (whether state sponsored or cause driven) are clear, hence the investment in Cyber Defence.
Here’s my problem. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. I am deeply uncomfortable with what ‘Anonymous’ stands for. Wikileaks has very little to do with the man in the street, yet its effects are widespread. Anonymous’s hacks into Paypal affected people running small businesses who have nothing to do with Wikileaks. Hacks of Mastercard stop people going about their lives. Why would/should Joe Public understand?
On the other hand, Monday saw something of a skirmish between Anonymous and the Westboro Baptist church in Kansas. You may remember them as the racist homophobic extremists (evidence if required here is their delightful website http://www.godhatesfags.com – and no, I’m not linking to it) featured in yet another delightfully withering Louis Theroux TV programme. When Anonymous turns its hand to these sorts of people, I’m afraid I feel the urge to stand up and clap.
As an InfoSec purist I abhor the power a small group of people to take down organisations as they, and they alone see fit. But when they do it to a bunch of appalling nutjobs, I love it.
So now where do I stand? Comments please…