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Anonymous Hacking Skills "Rudimentary" For Now

Drawing on the "higher levels of skill and creativity" of former LulzSec members may boost the efforts of the hactivist group, warms the Department of Homeland Security.

Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
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Slideshow: Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
While attacks by hactivist group Anonymous right now may be "rudimentary," the group may increase its efforts through the help of more experienced cohorts from the now-defunct LulzSec group, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is warning.

Anonymous so far "has not demonstrated any capability to inflict damage to critical infrastructure, instead choosing to harass and embarrass its targets," the DHS said in a bulletin released by its National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC).

However, some members of LulzSec group--which disbanded in late June--have shown "moderately higher levels of skill and creativity, evidenced in attacks using combinations of methods and techniques to target multiple networks," according to the DHS.

Unlike Anonymous attacks, those by LulzSec have "largely resulted in the release of sensitive documents and personally identifiable information," the DHS said, and could potentially result in harm to their targets, which include federal, state, and local government organizations and agencies.

The bulletin was posted online on Public Intelligence, a non-government affiliated site on which government documents are often posted. However, a DHS official confirmed Wednesday that the bulletin is authentic and was fairly widely distributed to DHS federal, state, local and private-sector partners as part of ongoing collaboration and a "routine sharing of actionable cybersecurity information."

Hactivist groups have been attacking government agencies and affiliated organizations-including federal contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton and IRC Federal-in the last couple of months. However, so far they generally have not released much material of consequence or of an extremely sensitive nature.

The DHS expects these attacks to continue, although they are likely to remain "limited in scope," according to the bulletin. Still, there is a chance the attacks could become more sophisticated if hactivists begin to join forces, which means law-enforcement officials and other authorities should step up their efforts to monitor the groups.

"Some members of LulzSec have demonstrated moderately higher levels of skill and creativity that include using combinations of methods and techniques to target multiple networks," according to the bulletin. "Therefore, it may be advisable to adjust monitoring of both internal and external resources for indications of a pending or ongoing attack on cyber or telecommunications networks."

After LulzSec disbanded, some of its members branched off and launched an "Operation Anti Security" campaign as AntiSec to target governments around the world, mainly for politically motivated reasons.

In addition to warning officials to more closely monitor cybersecurity for more sophisticated hacks, the bulletin also identifies the next potential targets for attacks, including U.S. intelligence agencies and organizations and companies in the critical infrastruc0ture sector.

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