What was billed as a "Day to Remember" by hacker groups came and went with a yawn Tuesday.
The so-called Hacker Day, in which international hackers including the group Anonymous had pledged cyber attacks against major U.S. government agencies and banks, largely fizzled. By late in the day, there were no major outages or problems with websites around the country.
"If you want to really produce a result, you need to have a large organization marshalling some resources in order to bring things to a screeching halt," says Christopher Bronk, cyber expert from the James Baker Institute of Public Policy at Rice University. He tells KTRH that groups like Anonymous don't have the organization or the numbers to take down a major computer network.
Tuesday's planned attacks, dubbed "#opUSA" by the hackers in blogs and social media postings for weeks, come just a month after a similar effort aimed at Israel also flopped. Bronk says in addition to their poor organization, the hackers made another strategic error. "If you want to launch a cyber attack that works, usually you don't want to tell the world when you're going to do it or how you're going to do it."
In this case, while hackers may have been building hype and buzz for their plans, they also tipped off the intended targets. "What it allowed was for the government to get in front of the problem, because the advance warning allowed them to put bulletins out and to provide guidance on what would be effective should they attack," says Bronk.
In addition to government agencies, major banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are also getting wise to the hackers. "The financial services guys have been under pretty heavy assault now for the better part of a year with denial of service attacks, so they're getting pretty good at this," says Bronk.
Ultimately, while hackers and cyber criminals remain a real and legitimate threat to be taken seriously, most major agencies and businesses are doing a better job at staying a step ahead. Bronk says in this case, the "Day to Remember" is actually one to forget. "May 7th as a day of gross chaos on the Internet just didn't come together."
Keep up with the latest in the cyber world with the High Tech Texan Michael Garfield