University of Surrey computing professor Alan Woodward has told an audience at RSA Europe that the Anonymous hacking collective was "like a noisy child" which diverted media attention away from serious information security issues.
He made the comments on a panel which included Atari Teenage Riot frontman and anarchist Alec Empire who claimed another wave of Anonymous was coming.
"My issue with hacktivist groups in general is that the internet has given them the ability to have a disproportionate voice, and that brings responsibilities," Woodward said.
“My trouble is, I don't know who's given them the mandate to do this. I'm the first to admit democracy isn't perfect, but this is such an amplification of their voices, thanks to the internet. It's disproportionate.
“Anonymous is like a noisy child. They're the ones who get the most attention.”
Woodward has commented in media outlets including the BBC on security issues linked to nation-states, such as Flame, which he said were more deserving of coverage than hacktivist groups.
Empire said the Anonymous movement was in it's "first wave".
"It's almost like the first chapter has closed. There's another wave coming from a lot of people outside that circle, like artists, students and activists.”
The German star said that people were joining Anonymous because for example, institutions such as news networks are being widely manipulated, and that they wanted to expose lies.
“I think they see a fake democracy. I've seen it often people asking why they should be voting for Obama or Romney, because they are the same thing.
“We witness Anonymous Twitter accounts during a debate bringing this up. A lot of people believe that certain people are in power which hasn't been earned.”