NO ONE could have foreseen the rise of hacktivism in the last year, and groups like Anonymous pose a growing threat to end users, according to chief security researcher at F-Secure Mikko Hypponen.
Hypponen said that there are three groups that present internet security threats - criminals, hacktivists and governments.
When asked by the INQUIRER which was the biggest threat to the individual, Hypponen said, "For the average end user, nation state attacks won't affect them at all. They have nothing to steal from you."
He added, "Criminals are a big threat but hacktivists are growing. A year ago it was isolated attacks on things like the Scientology religion but [hacktivists] started to make headlines with Wikileaks, when Anonymous came out to defend the whistle blowing site."
Hypponen said that typical hacktivist attacks such as leaking a web site's database including passwords "will affect the end user", especially if the end user re-uses their passwords.
He added, "This is a problem we didn't see happening. We weren't expecting Anonymous to be as big. Anonymous isn't going away. It is largely fuelled by this next generation that grew up with the net. The internet is as natural to them as breathing air."
Hypponen thinks that eventually Anonymous will end up splitting into groups, which is how the offshoot Lulzsec was formed. He said, "The only thing that connects these operations [is that] Anonymous is a brand - it's an open brand and anyone can take it." µ