Two new victims took a hit in the Wild West world of computer hacking this week: Citibank, where 200,000 credit card holders were victimized, and the International Monetary Fund, which reportedly also endured a cyberattack.
The FBI is on the case — so much so that 1 in 4 hackers may now be an informant, according to some experts.
Hackers And Spies
Ed Pilkington, who covers hacking for the Guardian, tells Weekend All Things Considered guest host Rachel Martin that the overriding atmosphere in the hacker community is one of paranoia and fear as more and more of them join the other side to get out of trouble.
“They don’t really who know who’s doing what,” he says. “It seems such an extraordinary contradiction. Here is this community which in popular vision is a community of anarchists, anti-establishment people, and yet here are so many of them actually acting as the eyes and ears, as virtual spies, on behalf of FBI and Secret Service.”
There are those in the cyber-community who think even more than 1 in 4 hackers are in cahoots with the U.S. government these days. Former hacker and information security consultant Kevin Mitnick says that informants are essential to America’s defenses.
“I don’t know of any case that involves computer hacking where there were multiple defendants charged where there wasn’t an informant on the case,” he says.