If the past is any guide, nobody will see the top 2011 security stories coming. The incidents that really captured the public's attention were the ones that nobody predicted.
4. The hackers get off with a slap on the wrist
Unfortunately, Russia and Ukraine's actions are symbolic, rather than punitive. The mastermind behind one of the most lucrative computer attacks in history, Victor Pleshchuk, got off with probation. Sure, he had to pay back the stolen money, but if you don't even get jail time for an $8.9m heist, is there really any reason for criminals to think twice about hacking into a bank? In Ukraine and Russia, the masterminds behind Zeus are still on the loose, despite the fact that about a hundred low-level operatives were rounded up in the UK. And the alleged pharma-spammer, Igor Gusev, apparently fled the country before he could be brought into custody.
5. Anonymous gets taken seriously
If you're an angry teenager with some free time on a Saturday night, and you're mad at Visa or MasterCard because they won't process payments for WikiLeaks, there's something you can do to pass the time. You can call yourself Anonymous and get some free publicity for your cause by downloading some DDoS software. It's completely illegal, but effective. It only took a few thousand people to give these financial services companies a run for their money, in a series of DDoS attacks in early December. And thanks to reporters who can't distinguish between a minor website outage and catastrophe, they got to be known as the "computer hackers" who sent two of the world's biggest credit card companies into meltdown".
See also: 2010's biggest internet security stories
- No-one predicted thought these events would happen
- Hackers get off lightly