Hacktivism

Another thing we need to worry about.  Hactivism.  No, it’s not new, but it is back in the forefront of computer hacking.

Hacktivism

According to Wikipedia, In Internet activismhacktivism or hactivism (a portmanteau of hack and activism) is the subversive use of computers and computer networks to promote a political agenda or a social change.  “Hacktivism” is a controversial term with several meanings. The word was coined to characterize electronic direct action as working toward social change by combining programming skills with critical thinking. But just as hack can sometimes mean cyber crime, hacktivismcan be used to mean activism that is malicious, destructive, and undermining the security of the Internet as a technicaleconomic, and political platform.

Mostly, hacktivism is meant to send a message. The hactivist target websites they know receive a lot of traffic.  This is how they get their message out.  It’s the electronic version of an NFL player kneeling during the National Anthem.  They know they can get to a platform and they used that for their own benefit, or political agenda.

Forms and Methods

Self-proclaimed “Hactivists” often work anonymously, sometimes operating in groups while other times operating as a lone-wolf with several cyber-personas all corresponding to one activist[13] within the cyberactivism umbrella that has been gaining public interest and power in pop-culture. Hactivists generally operate under apolitical ideals and express uninhibited ideas or abuse without being scrutinized by society while representing or defending them publicly under an anonymous identity giving them a sense of power in the cyberactivism community.

In order to carry out their operations, hacktivists might create new tools; or integrate or use a variety of software tools readily available on the Internet. One class of hacktivist activities includes increasing the accessibility of others to take politically motivated action online.

  1. Code: Software and websites can achieve political purposes. For example, the encryption software PGP can be used to secure communications; PGP’s author, Phil Zimmermann said he distributed it first to the peace movement. Jim Warren suggests PGP’s wide dissemination was in response to Senate Bill 266, authored by Senators Biden and DeConcini, which demanded that “…communications systems permit the government to obtain the plain text contents of voice, data, and other communications…”.WikiLeaks is an example of a politically motivated website: it seeks to “keep governments open”.
  2. Website Mirroring: is used as a circumvention tool to bypass censorship blocks on websites. It is a technique that copies the content of a censored website and posts it to other domains and subdomains that are not censored.
  3. Geo-bombing: a technique in which netizens add a geo-tag while editing YouTube videos so that the location of the video can be displayed in Google Earth.
  4. Anonymous blogging: a method of speaking out to a wide audience about human rights issues, government oppression, etc. that utilizes various web tools such as free and/or disposable email accounts, IP masking, and blogging software to preserve a high level of anonymity.
  5. RECAP is software that was written to ‘liberate US case law’ and make it freely available online. The software project takes the form of distributed document collection and archival.
  6. Leaking:Information leakage from an insider source who acts in the interest of the public to reveal sensitive and otherwise protected information about a given organization that implicates them in wrongdoing or malicious practices.
  7. Doxing: The practice in which private and/or confidential documents and records are hacked into and made public. Hactivists view this as a form of assured transparency, experts claim it is harassment.
  8. Denial-of-Service attacks: These attacks, commonly referred to as DoS attacks, use large arrays of personal and public computers that hackers take control of via malware executable files usually transmitted through email attachments or website links. After taking control, these computers act like a herd of zombies, redirecting their network traffic to one website, with the intention of overloading servers and taking a website offline.uc

There is a lot of power connected to being able to hack someones website, and systems.  The destruction  is enormous, and can bring corporations to its knees.  We need to protect our networks as best we can, and run scans as often as possible.

Hacktivism

 

Parts of this article were reprinted from Wikipedia.  Tier3MD is affiliated with Discovery Computers and Forensics.