Anonymous, LulzSec, Guardians of Peace... A guide to the most notorious hacking groups
In 2015, the number of cyber-attacks and data breaches being reported by companies and governments across the world does not appear to be decreasing. Many high profile attacks have taken place in the past year alone. As a result of government investigations into cyber-attacks, it was discovered that many of these attacks are not the work of a single criminal acting alone.
In fact, organized hacking groups are increasingly responsible for these incidents. As time goes on, the data breaches and attacks are becoming more devastating and authorities are looking to see who is behind these events in order to stop these groups from organizing further. As the world becomes more technologically integrated, cyber-attacks pose issues of national security that need to be addressed.
This group, also known as Lulz Security, was formed in May of 2011 and has since claimed responsible for several major cyber-attacks including a data breach at Sony Pictures in 2011. The group also claimed responsibility for taking down the CIA website of the US government. LulzSec gained notoriety because of the sarcastic messages often left by the group following an attack.
LulzSec was partially taken down in March of 2012 with the arrests of teenage members known as T-flow and Topiary. The group has emerged once again after launching Operation AntiSec, which is a joint-effort between LulzSec, Anonymous and other internet hackers.
Guardians of Peace
The group Guardians of Peace rose to the forefront after claiming responsibility for November 2014’s devastating cyber-attack on Sony Pictures. The data that was released by the breach included the personal information of the individuals in the company and a series of shocking emails that ultimately lead to employee turnovers in the company. In addition, the Guardians of Peace group then mocked the FBI’s investigation with an online message calling the FBI, "idiots".
The United States government denied that the group was responsible and officially blamed North Korea for the attacks. To date, North Korea has denied the claims and has offered to create a joint-force task with the United States government in order to determine the source of the attack.
Anonymous is a group is made of up a network of hacktivist entities. Originally organized on the site 4chan back in 2003, Anonymous became known for DDoS attacks and publicity stunts aimed at government, corporate and religious websites.
Initially, the group began its cyber-attack activities with a project known as Project Chanology that was designed to target the Church of Scientology. Later, the group moved on to attacking several companies in the United States, including as PayPal, Visa and Sony. The group has also gained notoriety from individuals wearing Guy Fawkes masks during public demonstrations in order to show allegiance to the group.
The rise of online hacking groups is not only limited to groups of individuals online. In fact, the number of state-sponsored hacker groups is on the rise with countries such as the United States, Russia and China all being accused of hacking other countries government systems.
Healthcare Data Breach
Most recently in February of 2015, investigators at Anthem Inc. obtained evidence that indicated that Chinese state-sponsored hackers were stealing personal information from health-care companies. The breach resulted in the exposition of Social Security numbers and other data related to the accounts of over 80 million customers. It has been named as one of the largest thefts of medical-related customer data in US history.
Cyber Security a Major Issue
While only a few of the most notorious groups have been featured in the national news, cyber-attacks by hacking groups has become an increasingly difficult issue to address with governments and companies around the world searching for solutions.
Photo credit: Vincent Diamante
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