Rob Hegedus likens website and other malicious data hacks to cockroaches.
“If you see one, there’s 20 you’re not seeing,” said Hegedus, the CEO of Suffolk-based cybersecurity firm Sera-Brynn.
A recent run of website breaches in Hampton Roads has underscored how anyone can be a target. Since January, sites for Isle of Wight County, Colonial Williamsburg and a private school in Chesapeake have been infiltrated.
The first two cases included hackers claiming ties to the Islamic State group. In the most recent incident, a week ago Sunday, a screen showing a modified biohazard symbol and signed in part by the “Muslim Cyber Force” was placed on the website for Greenbrier Christian Academy.
School Superintendent Ron White told The Virginian-Pilot that he had spoken with the FBI and Virginia State Police and wasn’t worried about a terrorist attack.
In Isle of Wight County, IT director Jason Gray said the government’s site was fixed within about 30 minutes of his learning about the breach. He said he suspected it to be the work of a Web robot that randomly scours the Internet in search of vulnerable sites. There have been reports of hundreds of similar breaches across the country, he said.
So-called “hacktivist” attacks aren’t looking to steal money or data, said John Kipp, the chief operating officer of Sera-Brynn.
“They just want to do some damage and get in the news, and it works,” he said.
Their successes also shine a light on how any website, no matter its size or affiliation, can wind up in the crosshairs of an attack.
“The mentality of, ‘Well, we’re not really important, it’s not going to happen to us,’ is really dangerous, as more and more people are learning,” Kipp said.