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Cyber Fact: Hacktivism

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By: Olivia

August 18, 2017

According to Heimdal Security, “Hacktivism accounts for half of the cyberattacks launched in the world.”

What is hacktivism?

Hacktivism is a politically or socially motivated form of hacking. Deeply rooted in hacker culture and ethics, it is often related to free speech, human rights, or freedom of information. Although hacktivism may seem positive, it represents a subversive use of computers to promote a cause where intent is the driving factor. In some cases, hacktivism can do much damage.Hacktivists use code, website mirroring, geo-bombing and anonymous blogging to achieve their objectives, the oldest events of this type dating back to 1989. Anonymous may be the most widely known hacktivist group in the world, but there are many others that carry on cyber attacks of this kind,” says Heimdal.Those who participate in this type of display are considered to be the modern political protesters and the increase in hacktivism’s use and popularity may be due in large part to the growing importance of the Internet as a method of communication.

What is an example of hacktivism?

An infamous example, named ‘Operation Tunisia’ involved recruiting a number of Tunisian hackers to help take down eight government websites using DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service Attacks) attacks in support of Arab Spring movements in 2010.There are varying degrees of hacktivism displays, which leverage different types of hacks. Some simply leave a message on a highly trafficked website conveying thoughts of opposition and outrage. Others may utilize a denial of service attack as ‘Operation Tunisia’ did to disrupt traffic on a site.

Is hacktivism a crime?

There is much debate about whether or not hacktivism should be classified as a crime. On one side of the argument, some say that hacktivism causes damage in a forum where there is already free speech. Others say that these acts are a form of protest and therefore protected as free speech.

To Summarize

Trend Micro puts it best when they say, “Learning from past incidents is a good way to prepare for possible hacktivist attacks. Over time, hacktivism has evolved into a powerful virtual weapon that can cause massive disturbances that can disrupt day-to-day operations... Looking forward, hacktivism is all too random to be able to predict a possible attack with great certainty—so it’s best to remain vigilant against this era’s cyber vigilantes.”While some hacktivists may have the best of intentions, disruptive hacking can have unforeseen consequences to groups who may have not been the intentional target.At Cybrary, we strive to be an ethically sound community who promote best practices in ethical hacking and penetration testing. Emphasis on ethical.Master the core techniques and technologies of ethical hacking and assess the security posture of systems in a lawful manner with the Ethical Hacking Essentials Lab Bundle from CYBRScore. You will build a well-rounded security skillset and develop the ability to protect systems using an ethical hacking methodology and framework as your line of defense.olivia2Olivia Lynch (@Cybrary_Olivia) is the Marketing Manager at Cybrary. Like many of you, she is just getting her toes wet in the infosec field and is working to make cyber security news more interesting. A firm believer that the pen is mightier than the sword, Olivia considers corny puns and an honest voice essential to any worthwhile blog.
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