Hacktivism is the act of hacking, or breaking into a computer system, for politically or socially motivated purposes. The individual who performs an act of hacktivism is said to be a hacktivist.

Hacktivism is meant to call the public’s attention to something the hacktivist believes is an important issue or cause, such as freedom of information or human rights. It can also be a way for the hacktivists to express their opposition to something by, for instance, displaying messages or images on the website of an organization they believe is doing something wrong.

A hacktivist uses the same tools and techniques as a hacker but does so in order to disrupt services and bring attention to a political or social cause. For example, hacktivists might leave a highly visible message on the homepage of a website that gets a lot of traffic or embodies a point of view that is being opposed. Hacktivists also often use DoS attacks to disrupt traffic to a particular site.

Hacktivists use a variety of techniques to get their message across. Some tactics include the following:

  • Changing the code for websites.
  • Website mirroring is when hacktivists replicate a legitimate website’s content, but with a slightly different URL.
  • Leaking information is a popular tactic with activists. Typically, an insider source will access sensitive or classified information which implicates an individual, organization or government agency in some kind of malicious activity and make it publicly available. WikiLeaks has become a popular site for publishing leaked data.
  • The gathering of information through hacking or social engineering about a specific person or organization and making it public. The information is typically sensitive and is sometimes used in extortion schemes.
  • DoS attacks and DDoS attacks have become popular with hacktivists who use them to prevent users from accessing targeted computer systems, devices, and networks.

How to avoid Hacktivist:

  • Increased awareness of messaging.
  • Scan and monitoring social networks.
  • Back to basic security.
  • Securely delete or anonymize data that is no longer needed.
  • Encrypt any remaining data and ensure that it remains encrypted.
  • Deploy multi-factor authentication mechanisms

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