They Hacked the CIA? Or Did They?
You may have heard the media stories about the Rogue Hacking Group Anonymous taking down the CIA website, Here’s what the media didn’t tell you, because they don’t understand. I’ve seen Security Experts on television who described Anonymous as an organized group of elite hackers. One “Expert” even went on to say that many in the group were from Government Agencies. The truth is Anonymous is just a very loose knit band of cyber-terrorist. They aren’t elite haackers or genius computer wizards, they are mediocre users, mostly young troubled high school and college kids looking for a purpose.
Back to the CIA website; The group was able to cause the site CIA.gov to crash, this is not as big a feat as one might think. Anonymous simple used a Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDOS*). In other words they sent so much data to the site it over loaded and shut down, it’s like sending too voltage through a circuit, the breaker trips and power goes out, same idea. The problem with how this was reported though is that the CIA’s Internet Website has absolutley no classified information on it. It’s basically a marketing tool to share information with the public. All of the Agency’s classified servers and systems are completely seperate from the public Internet. At no time was there ever any danger of the misfit hacker group geaining access to classified information.
There is rarely anything to worry about when you stories of a website being taken down. Generally it just means someone will have to reboot the server and change some security setting. For a deeper explanantion of how DDOS attacks work you can read this recent ZDNET article http://www.zdnet.com/blog/networking/ddos-attacks-size-doesnt-matter/1982.