Pedestrians waiting to cross a busy street at night under streetlights.

What is Hacktivism?

Yann News 5 minutes

Hacktivism refers to cyber-activism, or breaking into a computer system to wage an information war for political, social, religious, or anarchistic reasons. From protests and sit-ins to doxing and distributed denial-of-service attacks, hacktivism gained new authority with the rise of optical networking in 1996.

They are proven to be powerful change agents; virtual vigilantes known as hacktivists build and deploy hacking tools for an agenda’s greater good. More about disruption than disobedience, there have been countless instances of political and social change as a result of hacktivist campaigns. Social Engineering and other methods are used by these individuals.  Here, we explore what motivates hacktivists, how to prevent hacktivism, and some of the most infamous hacktivist campaigns.


Hacktivism Explained

Hacktivism is a form of nonviolent digital activism in which the motive is not primarily personal financial gain. Instead, hacktivist campaigns aim to achieve political, social, or religious justice in line with the group’s cause. Hackers use doxing, defacement, and denial-of-service tactics to break into government or private organization systems.

Results are often scrutinized, and these agendas are carried out in the name of transparency claimed for the public good. Unlike typical hackers, these computer connoisseurs usually work in groups instead of alone. In the name of anonymity, these groups are typically fashioned as a decentralized network of individuals worldwide.


7 Types of Hacktivism

Hacktivists use various hacking techniques to reach their goals; anonymity is essential in every type.

  1. Doxing: Doxing exposes personal and identifiable information about a specific person or group to the public.
  2. Anonymous blogging: Used frequently by whistleblowers and journalists, this hacktivism publicly exposes specific issues or information while protecting the source.
  3. DoS and DDoS attacks: Denial-of-service attacks, like Smurf attacks, flood networks to prevent and disrupt system access.
  4. Informational leaks: Informational leaks use insider sources to make incriminating information public.
  5. Geo-bombing: In social and political videos, geo-bombing makes the hidden location of an image known.
  6. Website mirroring: Website mirroring replicates an actual website with a slightly different URL to evade censorship laws.
  7. Code Changing: By changing the code of a website, hacktivists can personalize website content and deface the site’s appearance to fit the message of their own agendas.

An infographic about maximizing linkedin for business growth, highlighting various strategies and tips for effective networking and marketing on the platform.

So, what is hacktivism, then? Some may say it’s the selfless acts of heroes and vigilantes. Others may argue it’s simply cybercriminals performing digital attacks behind the mask of online anonymity. In either regard, it’s clear that hacktivism has and will continue to have an enormous effect on the political, social, and religious realms.