Hacktivists are “villains”, say IT security pros

The majority of IT security professionals have – unsurprisingly – a negative opinion of “hacktivists”, say the results of a survey of 211 attendees at the Black Hat USA 2011 security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

When asked “Are “hacktivists’ like Anonymous and LulzSec heroes or villains?”, 36% of respondents believe them to be heroes, while 64% view them as villains.

Respondents also indicated that the increased number of breaches perpetrated by hacktivists is altering in-place security programs.

A majority – 89% — says they are paying more attention to security and/or looking for additional ways to reduce risk in the wake of recent attacks by Anonymous and LulzSec. Only 11% have made no change to their activity or strategy as a result of these breaches.

Respondents were evenly split when asked “In your opinion, have there been more data breaches in 2011 or just more media coverage of data breaches?” Fifty percent believe there are more breaches, while the other fifty percent feel an increase in media coverage has created the perception that breaches are on the rise.

“At the end of the day, however, Anonymous and LulzSec are clearly raising awareness about how vulnerable are systems are, and that at least is a positive outcome,” Oliver Lavery, director of security research and development for nCircle, commented the results.

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