The Resurrection of Hacktivism

The effects of COVID-19 and political warfare have been rife with cyberattacks. From phishing emails offering tax refunds to doxxing medical sites, the widespread attacks have been seen across the world. But what about the other side of these negative attempts at stolen data? Along with the hacks for personal financial gain, recent events have also brought along a resurgence of hacktivism.

Hacktivism is a form of cyber-activism that reared its face into a powerful online presence back in 1989 when the Worms Against Nuclear Killers defaced government websites as a form of protesting the nuclear-powered rocket. Since then, we’ve seen countless groups, some named and some not, attempting to sway the popular vote to push their agendas in a way that sit-ins and protests cannot. The difference between these virtual vigilante groups and typical hackers is that hacktivists do not carry out their agendas for personal financial gain.

Today, Anonymous, the group formed via Reddit threads, showed it’s Guy Fawkes face for the first time in years following recent political events in the United States—exasperated by the pandemic. In light of the BLM movements and to position itself against police brutality, they released a video on Twitter that condemned the Minneapolis police department and subsequently shut down their website, and parent website.

Below is  a timeline kindly created by Panda seccurity,

The term “hacktivism” was coined in 1996 by Omega, a member of the early hacktivist organization Cult of the Dead Cow. Although this new name solidified the importance of these events in history, it wasn’t the first instance of cyber-activism.

In this timeline, we explore major events during the evolution of hacktivism in the last century.