What Is Hacktivism? All About To Know In 2024

While exploring the realms of cybersecurity, you are very likely to hear about hacktivism. To put it simply, it is the combination of the words hacking and activism. But what is Cyberactivism? We will discuss that in detail in this blog.

What Is the Meaning of Hacktivism?

Hacktivism derives from combining the words hacking and activism. Hacking is breaking into someone’s computer system, and activism refers to a collective movement for a political or social cause. In Cyberactivism, the people involved take control of or break into the computer system or network of an organization or political establishment to make a political statement. 

What Is Hacktivism

What Are the Driving Forces Behind Hacktivism?

Hacktivists rally behind certain goals they share among themselves. For instance, fighting nepotism, terrorism, inequality, racism etc. Here are the most common demands raised by some of the recent hacktivism incidents.

  •  To pressure immigration departments to allow border crossings for immigrants and asylum seekers. 
  • To warn government authorities against taking the side of a specific country in a dispute or war. 
  • To show solidarity with a social uprising by hacking the website of the authority that stands in its way. 
  • To pressure governments to take action against certain corporate entities or institutions like the Church of Scientology that are suspected to be exploiting people. 
  • To mark a war or make a political statement against capitalism or racism. 
  • To discredit a government agency or authority that stands against a group, community, or establishment.

Who Are ‘Anonymous’?

Anonymous is a collective hacktivism movement across the world that primarily focuses on attacking government agencies, departments, and corporations. Although it is a global movement that works on the same principles, it is not a centralized movement.

Common Types of hacktivism

cyberactivists employ various attack methods to cause disruption to the target’s computer systems and networks. Some of the common forms of Cyberactivism include: 

Common Types of Hacktivism

Denial-of-Service Attacks:

Denial-of-Service Attacks (DoS) is a common hacking method used by cyberactivist. They take control of an organization’s website and/or intentionally create high traffic to it, making its access difficult for the actual users. 

Doxing:

Doxing is the act of publishing personal or private information about an individual, often a popular person, on the internet to harm their reputation in society or expose them to the public.

Information Leaking:

Information leaking is quite similar to doxing. Here, the purpose is to make people or the public aware of hidden government secrets or classified information to create an uprising against the government.

Anonymous Blogging:

 Here cyberactivist create a website or social media account and/or hijack a popular one and then use that space to create anonymous vlogs or content and share them with the public.

Geo-bombing:

cyberactivist may try to demonstrate their message by manipulating geographical locations either visually or by tweaking their names. It helps convey the message rather quickly. Google Earth, Google Maps, and YouTube videos from specific places are used in combination to create the impact.

Website redirection:

Website redirection is the process of taking control of a popular website and redirecting that to another website that contains literature supporting the causes of the cyberactivist group.

Website Mirroring:

In many cases, hacktivists have been found making copies of the website content of entities that they stand against and publishing them on another website, usually after the original website takes down the content, often as a result of a controversy or uprising. 

Tweaking website codes:

By tweaking website codes, cyberactivists change the appearance or content of reputed websites. They do this to demonstrate the message or cause that they stand for.

What Sets Apart Hacktivists From Hackers?

While there are a lot of similarities between hackers and cyberactivist  in terms of the type of attacks they perform and the tools and techniques used, cyberactivist are different from hackers. Hackers’ intentions are often monetary gains or revenge, while hacktivists rally behind good causes. Nevertheless, hacktivism cannot be regarded as good because breaking into the digital property of a private or government entity is against the law. To put it simply, a hacktivist in cyber security defines a cybercriminal.

What Is an Example of Hacktivism?

The best example of cyberactivism in recent years is WikiLeaks. Australian editor, activist, and journalist Julain Assange started the WikiLeaks website in 2006, publishing leaked government documents and information. The website claims to be an independent media organization that specializes in publishing documents exposing corruption, war atrocities, and spying activities breaching international norms. WikiLeaks started gaining international media attention only after it started publishing classified documents about the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

 Since 1996, Assange has collaborated with hacker groups. But even years before that, he had found a passion for hacking. It is said that his first hacking attempts were done under the name Mendax.

Conclusion

Although cyberactivist claim to work for positive social causes, the methods they use are not legal or acceptable in the context of cyber security. We hope that this blog helped you get a better picture of what Cyberactivism is and some of the common questions or doubts people have about it. If you have any further questions about this topic, feel free to write them in the comments below. 

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Jim Jacob

Jim Jacob is the founder of Cyberguard. He is an IT professional who has 21 years of professional experience in the tech field. Cybergurad is the product of his vision to share the knowledge gained from his career through the power of words. He is an expert at explaining complex tech concepts in simple language and has written numerous articles on IT and Cybersecurity.

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