Social media facilitates perpetration of hacker attacks - VMware exec

- Thursday, July 14, 2011

Social media facilitates perpetration of hacker attacks - VMware exec

Social media is facilitating the perpetration of global hacker attacks, along with easy online access to powerful tools, California-based virtualization software firm VMware's (NYSE: VMW) global cloud architect, Mike DiPetrillo, told BNamericas.

"Hackers are having a social impact, because with social media we have become a very tight society. We used to communicate internally, and now it's all over the world, all the time, sharing ideas, all connected.... Tools are out there [on the net]. They are so easy to find, so easy to use," DiPetrillo said.

Social media, the executive said, have made it much easier for hackers to communicate and coordinate attacks.

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"Before, during the 1980s, [hackers] were hard to find; they were like a little niche. But now you can talk to them directly, and it's much easier to communicate. Before, tools were very hard to find or very hard to use, it was very specialized.... Now they even advertise them," he said.

According to DiPetrillo, there are different types of attacks with different goals and aims - some of them with the sole intention of making money, whereas others are "kids being kids."

"A lot of them are just kids. Of course there's some more serious stuff around the world.... They are attacking big companies for different reasons - like the Sony attack - because they want the information to get money out of this and to get people's identity using mass spam," he added. "But there's also another group. For example, two weeks ago people from [hacker group] LulzSec were arrested... the guys were 16 or 17 years old; they are kids. That's what kids do, and they do it because they can."

Recent attacks include those on government sites in Latin America, like the Chile's education ministry, the Brazilian tax agency and Peru's government website. Globally, hackers have reportedly managed to infiltrate websites belonging to the CIA and the UK police unit against organized crime, as well as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations.