Anonymous a Major Concern for IT Pros: Survey

Dennis Faas's picture

A new survey shows that most IT professionals are very concerned at present about the activities of 'hacktivist' groups like Anonymous.

According to the study's results, about six in every ten IT pros believe members of hacktivist cells are most likely to attack enterprise-wide computer systems. But the specialists don't believe that's the most worrisome threat they face.

The survey was carried out by Bit9, a company that calls itself "the global leader in Advanced Threat Protection."

IT Pros Believe Hacktivists Most Likely to Attack

Bit9's recently released report shows that 61 per cent of the more than 1,800 IT enterprise security professionals interviewed said they were most afraid of attacks byAnonymous or hacktivist groups like them. Clearly, Anonymous is getting into the heads of many IT professionas.

(The term 'hacktivist' is usually defined as a hacker whose goal is to disrupt a targeted website or database for political reasons rather than to infiltrate and steal information for their own financial benefit.)

Aside from hacktivists, respondents said they believed conventional cybercriminals and national hacking groups in countries like Russia and China are also likely to launch worrisome cyber attacks. (Source:

However, because hacktivist groups like Anonymous tend to use distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that cripple websites only temporarily, rather than extract sensitive information, only 11 per cent of the 1,800 IT enterprise security professionals interviewed said they feared hacktivist attacks the most.

Cybercriminals Pose Greatest Danger

Most respondents said they had greater fear of attacks launched by cybercriminals, rather than by hacktivists.

That's because cybercrooks don't just knock a website offline for a short time. They use targeted attack techniques, malware infections, and phishing campaigns to steal valuable information, including client addresses, account and telephone numbers, and credit card data.

As a result, more of the IT pros in the survey worry about conventional cybercriminal strategies: a whopping 62 per cent of them are primarily focused on resisting targeted attack techniques, 45 per cent fear malware infections, and 17 per cent are concerned about the effects of a spear-phishing campaign.

Said Bit9 executive Harry Sverdlove: "On the surface, people are most afraid of embarrassing, highly publicized attacks from hacktivist organizations like Anonymous, but they recognize that the more serious threats come from criminal organizations and nation-states." (Source:

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