Hackers operating under the banner Anonymous have been poking a finger in the eye of one private company after another for two years now. Despite the arrests of dozens of suspected members of Anonymous and its offshoots worldwide, it is far from diminished. Nor have most of its corporate targets been irreparably damaged by the attacks. In fact, there’s a silver lining to this growing problem: The social engineering techniques used by Anonymous are also used by criminal hackers and state-sponsored actors who penetrate company systems in order to steal valuable secrets, whether for monetary gain or competitive edge. Anonymous draws public attention — and by extension, that of executives and shareholders. It puts a face — or rather, a mask — on a far more pernicious problem: online espionage.

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