15 July 2021
Hacktivism Explained: The Social Trend Making Waves in Cyber-Security
When we think of modern cyber-crime, we typically think of organised groups, perhaps sponsored by foreign governments, extorting substantial sums of money through a variety of illegal means. While this type of offence does indeed account for much cyber-crime activity, there’s another, growing trend that is also emerging, where social and political aims are more prominent drivers than greed. Welcome to the world of hacktivism.
What is Hacktivism?
Put simply, hacktivism is the act of breaching or illegally accessing and misusing a computer system, to take disruptive actions that are intended to bring about social or political change. The hacktivist may seek to draw attention to an issue they consider important. The causes are many and varied, from exposing political extremist groups, to highlighting environmentally harmful actions by corporations or governments.
Hacktivists often work in groups. They align with social campaigns, taking the protest into the digital world. Their tactics can vary from the financially driven cyber-crime groups, with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, doxing, and defacing websites more common than ransomware. Usually, anonymous members from around the world use inexpensive, readily available tools to create havoc for their targets.
Protecting Your Organisation
Every business should prepare itself for cyber-crime, and those in commonly targeted industries, including government, mining, science/research, religious groups, and pharmaceutical companies, should take extra precautions. Even if you do business with controversial industries, your organisation could find itself in the crosshairs. If you haven’t recently completed a business security audit, now is a good time to start. Once you have a clear picture of your risk profile, cover off the most pressing tasks. Our blog about staying safe online can help you decrease risk immediately. If you are in a high-risk industry, ask for expert help to check you have sufficient measures in place.