LulzSec: what hit us?

Over the weekend, Lulz Security (aka LulzSec) unfurled their sails and plotted a course for...well, who knows? They issued a manifesto declaring "50 days ago, we set sail with our humble ship on an uneasy and brutal ocean: the Internet," and said that this had been the plan for their "crew of six" all along.

The document doesn't read like it was cobbled together by a bunch of script kiddies--it's well organized and well written. It tones down the hubris of previous LulzSec screeds while still conveying their love for "the raw, uninterrupted, chaotic thrill of entertainment and anarchy." Despite uncharacteristic humility, the farewell-statement (if in fact LulzSec is halting its forays into the databases of top-level private- and public-sector entities) reads much like a rant from "Fight Club": "You are not failures. You have not blown away. You can get what you want and you are worth having it, believe in yourself."

If you read the entire statement online, you understand why LulzSec is trying to motivate those who've become fans during their 50 days of fame. While exiting, they also left a Pirate Bay torrent which likely contains all manner of inside information. What this group--whoever they are or were--wants is to spur others into similar actions. Given the number of sociopathic script kiddies out there, this is far from optimal.

Some have lauded LulzSec's actions as heroic (an impression they've played up), but they're no Robin Hoods. They've disrupted business processes and compromised security on important sites--often, by their own admission, for their own amusement.

It can be useful to get a taste of hacker-steel: all of a sudden, the board starts listening to the CIO when he or she talks about security. If there's a lesson in the LulzSec saga, it's this: take security SERIOUSLY. Harden your weak points. If you need a CSO, hire one--if it's not appropriate, consider proper penetration-testing. Learn security best practices. Don't assume that because Sony got blasted (not the noblest of acts considering the natural disaster in Japan this spring) that "they" were somehow at fault. What's YOUR security strategy? How could it be compromised? Test it...before someone else does.

As for LulzSec, their ship seems to sail on: according to a story we ran in late June, "Members of LulzSec appear to have rallied around Anonymous with...some LulzSec members claiming they were now with Anonymous."

Those who think LulzSec have disappeared over the horizon are woefully mistaken. Like an ever-shifting quantity of mercury, they aggregate, flow into separate blobs, then cohere again for another assault. Be on your guard.

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