Regular readers will remember we wrote about a group of hackers ironically named "Anonymous," who were reported to have been planning an attack on the social media giant, Facebook, on Guy Fawkes Day. It turns out that the threat came from another group of hackers that no one had ever heard of - not the famous anonymous group. As it turns out, the well-known anonymous group was targeting a Mexican drug cartel, but even that turned out to be "de nada."
Well, instead of attacking murderous thugs, the group has turned its attention to using the public. This decision is likely to reduce their chances of being individually tortured and beheaded by thugs in Mexico, but increase the chances of causing enough of a public outcry to get the U.S. government to finally shut them down.
According to reports early this week, the hacktivist group called Anonymous has targeted customers of an intelligence firm called "Stratfor," and is threatening to attack "a long list" of other such companies. Stratfor is an intelligence and security company commonly used by journalists, which may be the reason their customers were chosen first for the attack.
Victims of the attack are having unauthorized charges to their accounts paid to various charities such as the Red Cross, Care, and Save the Children. The charities are not involved in the attack, obviously, and the companies that have had their data user bases hacked are apparently not in danger at the company level. The victims are individual customers, who many not realize they have had unauthorized charges for a while, unless it these charges cause their cards balances to go over-the-limit, resulting in extra fees.
So, what can you do to protect yourself? For the next couple of months, vigilantly (even more than usual) check your credit card statements for any charges you may not have authorized (particularly to charities you do not normally donate to), and report any suspicious activity to the bank administering the card. Most credit card issuers will allow customers to dispute transactions resulting from what they believe to be fraud without affecting their credit or the remaining balance.