OPINION: How Do You Solve A Problem Like LulzSec?

When will it all end? Hacker group LulzSec launched its most ferocious assault to date last night, taking down three video games services in the process.

Indie hit Minecraft saw its log-in servers targeted and disabled. The group soon lifted its assault – though not before the entire game was temporarily forced offline.

Also victimised was MMO title EVE Online. Having been hit with a DDOS attack, developer CCP took the game down itself while it investigated the breach. And games portal The Escapist became the first video games media site to be targeted and disabled, though the reasons behind this move are less clear.

LulzSec’s campaign of disorder has quickly ramped up a notch having slowly gained momentum over the last few weeks.

Its victims to date include Nintendo, Epic, Square Enix, Codemasters and Bethesda. There have been some high-profile non-gaming causalities too such as Citibank and the NHS.

People are now starting to ask how authorities have allowed this vendetta to last so long? In reality a more fitting question would probably be to ask if the authorities are able to do anything at all.

Much like Tyler Durden’s Fight Club, LulzSec is believed to comprise of a number of both anonymous and autonomous individuals who coordinate strikes with impunity.

Shutting down such a network is arguably an impossible task. There is no leader, there is no hierarchy. Take out one member and another could just as easily appear overnight.

This leaves us with two conclusions. Firstly, any LulzSec members successfully prosecuted (which presumably at some stage they will be?) will need to be hit hard as a deterrent. Real-life consequences for real people might just dispel this air of invulnerability that currently engulfs hacking communities.

Secondly – and more importantly – games companies need to up their game.

LulzSec has openly spoken about its inability to penetrate Facebook’s water-tight security. Safety is possible. Networks do exist that, seemingly, cannot be hacked.

Now everyone needs to invest to achieve this. Every games company, In fact, any company with an online presence that stores customer details.

And therein lies the point, if there is one, in LulzSec and its actions. Companies should already be investing such resources into protecting customer data. The moment they invite users to submit information about themselves is the moment they enter into a pact to do this.

It shouldn’t take the online tirade of a hacker group to force their hand.

Whether you regard LulzSec as digital crusaders or pubescent pests, this is the argument it can always fall back on. The business community is the only thing that can rob them of this vindication.

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