What is Hacktivism? ( Hacktivism vs. Hacking)

What is Hacktivism?

Hacktivism can be said to be an act of breaking into a computer system for political or social reasons. It's a union of two words, i.e., "hack" and "activism." A hacktivist is someone who engages in hacktivism. The hacktivist who does activities like defacing a company's website or leaking personal information is seeking to send a message and create awareness for a cause they believe in.

  • Hacktivism is when political or social activists use computer technology to make a statement in favor of one of their causes.

  • Hacktivism often targets government or corporate targets, although it may also target any prominent organization such as religious groups, drug traffickers, terrorists, or pedophiles.

  • Breaking into someone's computer is referred to as hacking. The term "activism" refers to the promotion of a social viewpoint. The term "hacktivism" is a hybrid of the two.

Even though all hacktivist assaults are intended to advance or fight an ideology that the hacktivists regard as a danger to their cause, the similarities typically end there. Hacktivists' techniques, as well as the intensity and legality of their crimes, vary greatly.

What Do Hacktivists Do?

Hacktivists break into and compromise secure computer systems. Hacktivists frequently target major corporations or government agencies. Because hacktivists operate with a political conscience, they may also target smaller businesses and groups.

  • Hackers are motivated by monetary gain, which is why they tend to target larger businesses. Hacktivists, on the other hand, are not motivated by monetary gain, which is why practically any institution, regardless of size, may be a target of hacktivism.

  • Hacktivists employ the same tools, tactics, and software as hackers, including malware, viruses, trojans, computer worms, phishing, and other forms of harmful software, as well as DDoS assaults, brute force attacks, and other methods.

Goals of Hacktivism

Hacktivism usually aims to achieve one or more of the following goals −

  • Stopping or interrupting the financing of terrorists is a priority

  • Break the government's censorship rules and speak out against the war

  • Use the social media to assist folks who are silenced or whose rights are being infringed.

  • Take a stand against capitalism

  • Attack government websites that attempt to put an end to political unrest

  • Encourage democracy and freedom of expression

  • Assist immigrants in crossing national borders

  • Assist local uprisings

  • Undermine a corporation's power

  • Discredit or oppose the authority of a government

Types of Hacktivism

Hacktivists usually employ the following methods to launch an attack −

Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attacks

People who employ civil disobedience to raise awareness about a problem may stage a sit-in. When hacktivists launch a DoS assault, they employ a similar strategy. Despite the fact that they do not alter the content of a website, they can overwhelm it with requests, jamming its server and leaving it unusable for normal users.


Doxing is the practice of making private or humiliating documents public. People who have a lot to lose if the public finds out about their private actions are frequently targeted. Government leaders, corporate executives, the military, and law enforcement are all examples.

Information Leaks

Hacktivists frequently use information leaks as a tactic. Hacktivists release information not only to target an organization or someone that opposes their ideas but also to get attention. News organizations are fast to broadcast factual information when it is provided.

How to Remain Protected from Hacktivism?

Since hacktivists and hackers utilize the same tools, you can defend your company from both if you take the necessary cybersecurity precautions −

  • Hire a knowledgeable IT and/or cyber security staff.

  • Make a list of your most valuable assets and build your cyber security strategy around them.

  • Educate your employees. Everyone, not just the IT workers! So that your company can better defend itself against phishing and other similar threats.

  • Operating systems, firewalls, security protocols, antivirus software, and other related products should all be updated on a regular basis.

  • Schedule and execute frequent testing to identify and address your systems' weaknesses.

Hackers aren't characterized by their reasons for doing what they do. A hacker could break into a computer for monetary gain or demonstrate their talents. A hacktivist, on the other hand, is someone who is aiming to achieve a social or political goal by getting access to a computer network and stealing sensitive data.

Updated on: 22-Jun-2022


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