When the term hacktivism is discussed the first thing that comes to our mind is the Anonymous collective. But is hacktivism good or bad? Let’s talk!
The concept of hacking: The attempt to exploit a computer system or private data inside a device. Simply put, the illegal access to a network system for some malicious purpose.
Hacktivism: the practice of gaining unauthorized access to a computer to carry out several disruptive actions to achieve social or political goals. Hacktivism is also the act of hacking a website or device in order to send a social or political message.
When hearing of a massive cyberattack, we instantly think about the responsible person as being a bad person. We believe that the individual is often a cybercriminal stealing personal data for financial reasons. Still, more and more hackers, better-called hacktivists known for targeting network systems, don’t do it for personal gain but to social change or promote a message.
Take the recent cyberwar on Russia example where hacktivist collective “Anonymous” is officially in cyberwar against the Russian government. They hacked the Ministry of Defence database to defend “people’s honor.” Additionally, Anonymous went on to hack Russian State TV channels and Netflix-like streaming services in the country, not once but twice.
Hacktivism cases across the globe will continue to rise, and while hacktivists’ intentions may not be malicious, it might be just as costly and damaging to an organization once their private stuff have been exposed to the large public. Once a hacktivist compromises a system and the information goes public, the chances are that more evil activities come into place.
While cybercriminals destroy a website for cash or personal info, a hacktivist has more significant goals, using many ways and tools to achieve them. Hacktivism is not a form of hacking but a form of activism. The difference between hacktivism and hacking lies in the hacker’s purpose. Contrary to common belief, a hacktivist is not the same as a cybercriminal. They use the same tools and methods, but their intentions differ significantly.
What’s behind a hacktivist? It’s a person who uses their skills to secure and retain people’s political freedoms across the world. It combine programming skills with critical thinking – the result? A better world by showing unfair systems and developing new technologies.
Hacktivist groups can rely on many different reasons for their protests. While they may protest for government spending, others do it for unnecessary war, for example. Hacktivists are known as aggressive and disruptive people, targeting financial institutions, security companies, and other businesses believed to be violating human rights.
Notable hacktivist groups worldwide:
- LulzSec(Formation: 2011)
- Anonymous (Formation: 2003)
- Legion of Doom (Formation: 1984)
- The Syrian Electronic Army (Formation: 2011)
Hacktivism can be a force for good, but it often harms innocent organizations and individuals. The goal of a hacktivist is to gain the attention of a particular political group, but this isn’t always a noble goal.
As demonstrated during the Tunisian rebellion, many hacktivists weren’t concerned about the collateral damage they were causing to innocent parties. While some hacktivists might be really doing good, some might use excuses to cause harm to innocent users and organizations.
More Hacktivism News on Hackread.com
- Syrian Electronic Army Hacks Official US Army Website
- Anonymous hacker jailed for 10 years over hospital DDoS attacks
- Far-right host Epik confirms its data was breached by Anonymous
- US indicts WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange for hiring Anonymous & LulzSec
- Anonymous hacks Texas Republican Party website against abortion law
Is Hacktivism Good or Bad?
The answer depends on what side you’re on. Some people confuse hacktivists with cybercriminals, which cause severe harm, like financial damages. But this raises awareness around some concerns; hacking can be used for good or bad, and perhaps time will tell if hacktivism will improve its reputation or destroy it.
Types of hacktivism:
- Data Breaches
- Defacing Online Websites
- DDoS Attack (Distributed Denial of Service Attack)
Can Hacktivism Harm Businesses?
As businesses store more and more data online, they’re becoming incredibly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Dealing with cyberattacks is costly, as many companies lost millions of dollars to cybercrime in 2019. Companies in the manufacturing, financial services, and technology sectors tolerated the substantial losses.
Over the past decade, we’ve all seen businesses get tossed upside down. A lot of them operate online, allowing data to be accessed in different ways. It may be beneficial in some ways, but these businesses possess risks regarding data loss.
Hacktivism, the type of process speaking above, has been around for quite some time, but now, it seems that it has come to the center of attention on a larger scale, with no plans of going back.
What does hacktivism mean for a business? It may not mean something to your organization, but even if hacktivism involves political and large-scale organizations. There’s no point in waiting until something happens.
As a business owner, you must ensure that your data is safe and what you need to do to improve this process. There’s no need to say what could happen if your company’s data were in the wrong hands for a couple of seconds. How you do business changes every day, so make sure you stay ahead of trends, ensuring that your data is safe, secure, and available when you need it.
What Hacktivism Teaches Us?
Hacktivism highpoints the responsibility professionals must take to protect their personal data, integrity, availability, and confidentiality. A cybercriminal has much worse intentions, so you need to be more persistent and vigilant in your approach to cyberattacks.
Additionally, one of the best ways to fight against cyber threats is through communication. Speak with many departments within your company to make sure you know what IoT devices implement and how you can best work together against exposures. Also, speak with other known organizations about potential attacks and threats they might see or solutions they might implement to fight these concerns.
It’s a fact that security threats will never go away. Some will even increase in popularity, and it’s our responsibility to be aware of how to emerge tactics to combat them. It’s not always hackers who put personal data at risk, but federal agencies collect data without considering the impact it may have across organizations.
Hacktivism taught us that the primary goal of a company is always to protect personal data, even though some hacktivists intend to do good.