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November 01, 2011

Latin American hacktivists and the price of an email address

AnonymousLatin America has been swamped by hacktivism lately, as groups have attacked government sites in Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile and Guatemala among others.

I just wrote this story about the phenomenon.

During Colombia's municipal elections this Sunday, the National Registry - which was reporting the vote tally - says its site was attacked more than 400 million times. Yes, 400,000,000.

There are several factors driving the increase, including the proliferation of computers and online access in the region. (Over the last decade online access has spiked more than 1,000 percent in the region.)

But Nicolas Severino, the director of engineering  in Latin America for Symantec, said another factor driving the surge is the availability of "hacking kits."

Hacking used to be reserved for computer-savvy programmers. Now there are "commercial quality" kits available that make hacking as easy as dragging and dropping, he said. 

"Increasingly, there is this lamentable technology that allows people with low-level technological abilities to do high-level damage," he said. 

One interview I didn't get for the story was with Anonymous Colombia. A person who runs their Twitter account, has more than 40,000 followers and has been calling many of the targets, offered to meet with me, but then disappeared again.

The government is really ratcheting up the pressure on them, so it's no surprise that they would want to stay....anonymous.

Two final things. One very cool site I found is Zone-H, where hackers report their attacks and often provide snapshots of their work. It allows you to search for attacks by website and domain extensions, which is quite helpful.

Also, Symantec provided this scary chart. It shows the going rate for stolen information. 



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This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles.Keep up the good work!

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jim wyss

Inside South America is written by Jim Wyss, the South America bureau chief for the Miami Herald and McClatchy Newspapers.

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