The Hubris of Hacking the FBI
NEWS ANALYSIS: Hackers who have the audacity to taunt American law enforcement should beware that the long arm of justice will find them—and fast.The days of hacking with impunity, without any consequences or risk of penalty, may one day soon come to an end. A case in point is the rapid apprehension of an alleged suspect in the hacker attack against the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last week. Less than a week after hackers boasted to the media about breaching government security at least one of the alleged perpetrators is now in custody. According to Fox News, British officials arrested a 16-year-old male suspect in England on Feb. 12. That means that less than a week from the time the hackers boasted of breaching U.S. government security, that same government, working with its partners in the United Kingdom, was able to identity, locate and apprehend the attackers and has made at least one arrest. When I first saw the report that hackers were boasting of breaching FBI security, I thought at first how remarkably brash it is for attackers to publicly taunt law enforcement. When there are such acts of bravado, typically, it comes from a high degree of confidence that there is little risk to one self, or that the breached party (in this case the FBI and DHS) are so impotent that they will be powerless to do anything. As it turns out, U.S. law enforcement is anything but powerless, and the brash pronouncements of insecurity of the government agencies are a case study in hubris. In Greek mythology, humans are guilty of hubris when they challenge the deities of Olympus or when mortal pride challenges the power of an immortal, and ultimately, the humans end up being punished.
Certainly, U.S. law enforcement isn't all-powerful and all-seeing; however, the U.S. government has vast resources, and Edward Snowden's National Security Agency (NSA) leaks have further informed the general public about the information sharing and gathering practices of the United States and its allies, including the United Kingdom.