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Can Hackers be Stopped: Who Are They?

Posted on August 19, 2011

ManTech International, the computer security company worth $2.6 billion that recently won a contract with the F.B.I. to keep our nation’s computer network secure just got hacked. Wow, if that doesn’t raise some of the  hairs  on the back of your neck I don’t know what will!

Jeff Moss,  founder of two popular conferences on hacking and the security industry, aptly named Black Hat and Defcon, said of the incident, “Whether an intrusion is conducted by a skilled outsider with criminal intent, an adolescent hacker seeking a thrill or a disgruntled employee bent on revenge or espionage, the potential risks to the organization are enormous.”

can hackers be stoppedManTech was just the latest organization to be put at risk. An operation of Internet vigilantes ironically calling itself “Anonymous” is taking responsibility for hacking into ManTech’s computers to highlight the fact that all companies are at risk from hackers and that there is no such thing as a truly secure network.

After “ Anonymous “ broke in and confiscated internal company documents they left the computer security company a tongue-in-cheek message saying, “It’s really good to know that you guys are taking care of protecting the United States from so-called cyber threats.”

Needless to say besides the embarrassment, ManTech is taking measures to step up their efforts to install more secure firewalls and are literally scrambling to find more sophisticated ways to protect their own, as well as our nation’s, security networks.

In the months preceding this latest computer information hijacking debacle several other security and consultant firms have been hacked into by the very people they were hired to thwart.

Many of these security companies liken themselves to the Pinkertons; a posse of security men of the Wild, Wild West hired by the government to protect wealthy ranchers and banks.

Well who are those guys?

More to the point, how are they going to keep our nation’s corporate, government and intelligence data safe from… well… everybody?

At a Las Vegas Conference of Black Hat this week Mr. Moss went on to say of the hacking, “With the rise of hacktivism, now the people who break into you tell you they break into you,” He went on to say, “A little bit of public humiliation is going to go a long way in helping the security industry clean up.”

Although “Anonymous” claimed it went after defense and intelligence contractors to simply expose their vulnerabilities and were not in it for the glory, spite or any financial gain, this may have set a dangerous precedent for other brilliant albeit misguided computer hackers who wish to do  no harm.

In a previous incident the group hit another computer security company called Booz Allen Hamilton based in McLean, Va. However in that particular hacking heist they put 90,000 military personnel in danger when they released their e-mail addresses.

Just a quick message to the happy hackers calling themselves “Anonymous”… exactly who’s side are you on?

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