May 14, 2012

State Website Under Attack 'Almost On A Daily Basis'

State Website Under Attack 'Almost On A Daily Basis'

By: Kelly Tuthill, WCVB

Massachusetts residents can now use the state's website to do nearly all of their government business online.

The convenience makes life easier for drivers and taxpayers, but not for those trying to protect that personal information from hackers.

How widespread is the threat?

In February, hackers under the guise of a group called Anonymous launched a Denial-of-Service attack against the Boston Police Department's news website.

People trying to log in to the site saw an anti-cop rap video instead.

"I would classify that as 'Hacktivism'," said Roel Schouwenberg, a senior analyst with Kaspersky Lab in Woburn.  "In this case, there was no financial gain.  It basically was an online form of protest."

"Anonymous" claimed the attack was in retaliation for the police eviction of Occupy Boston protesters last December.  But it also was viewed as a very public challenge to anyone responsible for government websites.

"We are moving into an era where it's no longer a question of if you're getting compromised, but when," Schouwenberg said.

Verizon recently declared 2011 as the Year of the Hacktivist because, for the first time, the primary motivation of most cybercriminals was protest, not financial gain.

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