May Day hacking threat fails to materialise

Contrary to some security consultant warnings, anti-capitalist computer hacking does not accompany May Day demonstrations
Written by Will Knight, Contributor

Police and computer security experts report that fears that the city of London would fall to anti-capitalist computer hackers have so far proved unfounded.

In the last few weeks a number of computer security firms have warned that politically motivated hackers may time attacks on corporation with 1 May street demonstrations against global capitalism. However, experts say that, so far, online demonstrators have failed to materialise.

"There is nothing that we are aware of," said a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police, which is co-ordinating police response to the demonstration.

Perhaps more surprisingly, there has also been an absence of minor Web site defacements -- which usually rely on simple exploits and little technical expertise -- in support of the street demonstrations.

"I've not really seen a major surge in defacements to coincide with the 1 May anarchy, it's mainly just the same old rubbish," said Richard Stagg, a computer security consultant for Information Risk Management (IRM), a company that specialises in investigating computer crime.

Protestors around the world took to the streets to campaign against capitalism and the world economic system. Some experts predicted that corporation's computer systems would provide an attractive target for computer literate demonstrators. Cracking computer systems has indeed gained a political edge in recent months with crackers posting political messages about the Middle East conflict and, more recently, pro-Chinese and pro-American messages in response to the US spy plane controversy.

But Stagg said that apart from a few defacements "vaguely related" to the anti-capitalist demonstrations, mainly affecting sites in Germany and the US, nothing serious has happened.

Howwver, the Met spokesman added that some incidents may not come to light until later. "Unless there was a really big attack that brought down a big company, local police would here about it first," he said. "We would be notified at a later date."

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