Members of the infamous hacking collective Anonymous range from housewives to information security professionals, according to a panel of security experts who claim to have infiltrated the group.
Speaking to the press at RSA Conference Europe, Akamai director of security intelligence Joshua Corman argued that the group has a diverse range of constituents, with varying levels of technological know-how.
Some are "very political", some are housewives, some have no hacking skills – while others are so-called "greyhats" with day jobs in information security, and a lot are students, he said.
He added that the large numbers of students in Anonymous represents a failure on the part of the IT security industry to engage with kids who have an interest in hacking and want to develop their skills in the area.
The panel also included Aaron Barr, who was famously chief executive of security firm HB Gary when Anonymous targeted him in retaliation for his investigatory work into the group.
He explained that LulzSec initially broke off from Anonymous, headed by members frustrated that decision making within the group took too long, adding that it operates almost like a "special operations group".
Also present was Will Gragido, senior product line manager at HP's DVLabs, who advised firms keen to mitigate the risk of attack by hacktivist groups to consider a defence-in-depth approach, including DDoS mitigation and web app security.
"Preparedness is key," he said. "It would be foolish to prepare for only one type of attack where there are several to be concerned about."
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