In the modern era of technology, Hacking has been an emerging trend in society. Many of us may find it very interesting because it let us exploit the computer system’s weaknesses. All the militaries in the world hire ethical hackers who can make their system strong enough so that the opposition does not have any information that can prove lethal to them. If Hacktivism is used correctly, It can help maintain world peace by making all the sensitive data end to end encrypted, but Some half-witted group of people have used this skill to control and mislead the general public.
Another common form of hacking is HACKTIVISM, which is derived from two words, “Hack” and “activism”.
Basically, Hacktivism is the act of misusing a computer system for political or socially motivated purposes.
Hacktivists who defame the government or any other organizations are willing to promote and spread their ideology to major sections of the people so that they can become more powerful and operate successfully.
Example=During Election, some of the social media accounts can be deliberately hacked to promote a particular party on social media and raise its agenda through the platform. This is a form of Popular Hacktivism.
Hacktivism is also meant to grab public attention on issues such as human rights or any protest going against the government or something like this. This is done to get the necessary support from the general public in fulfilling their agenda.
Hacktivists use the same tools as hackers do, but the intention behind using that skill is to disrupt the services and bring attention to social or political agendas. They are often indulged with big personalities who want their perspective to be public and gather some support for themselves.
There are many more such examples in which these hacktivists control the world and influence the general public in the wrong way.
Terrorist organizations often brainwash few hackers and use them as their weapon in spreading their propaganda.
So, let us understand what exactly makes these hacktivists more strong and more motivated.
Primarily, Hacktivism is driven by an individual or a group of individual’s perception of what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’. They want their perception to be correct and want all their companions to join them.
Sometimes big organizations also hire few hacktivists in order to make other people support them and believe them in their doings.
In general, the hacktivists group tend to mislead people against the government new reforms. They often challenge, provoke and question government and other organizations when the reforms are not in their favour.
Hacktivists can use various techniques in order to meet the requirements, such as:
1.They can change the code of a particular website which displays an error to the user and can result in leaking of data.
2.Website mirroring-They can replicate a website legitimate content in another website just by changing the URL so that the same data is available on the other website but with a different URL which can be a trap for much retail public.
3.They can also make the paid documents be available for free so that the general public can get their work done easily, and they can raise traffic to their website and promote their agenda.
4. Leaking Information is also a popular technique used by these groups. WikiLeaks is a popular side for leaked data.
5.Doxing is also a method in which information is gathered by hacking or social engineering and making it publicly available to humiliate or blackmail an organization or a person.
Anonymous hacktivists group is a group that is present worldwide and working in different terrain. Still, their end goal is the same that is to disrupt the working of government and other organizations.
In 2008, an anonymous hacktivist group was brought into the limelight through their expose by the Church of Scientology organization and continued their techniques such as the denial of services for the users against the Church’s website, which brought down the Church website.
There are few more examples of Hacktivism in recent years, such as the following:
1. During the Iranian 2009 election, Anonymous set up a website to disseminate information to and from Iran.
2.In 2014, Sony Pictures Network was hacked by a group known as Guardians of Peace; the group collected over 100 TB of data and some unreleased movies and personal data of the employees.
3.The 2016 DYN cyberattack affected major e-commerce giant Amazon, followed by other companies such as Reddit, Twitter and The Wall Street Journal. A group named New World Hackers claimed responsibility for this attack. This shows the attitude of hacktivists who are not scared of anyone and continue to do their work. This is an indication that they might have support from other big institutions.
4.During the 2011 Arab elections, there are sources that multiple hacktivist groups were supporting the protests. Internet was taken in control by these groups, and they tried to influence other people who can support them in the violent protest.
What can we do to prevent us from these hacktivist groups?
We should be aware while using all the sites and be very alert in giving the sensitive information of ours to any website as any site can work as a trap for you, and you may get trapped.
Secondly, We should educate ourselves and participate in government reforms and independently choose what is right for the community and do not get influenced or mislead by any other group of people.
Then, We should spread awareness and conduct campaigns in our locality about such things and secure all our information with end to end encryption. Awareness among people is one of the major steps to be taken by the youth so that the upcoming generations are less prone to such online crime.
Hacktivism is hard to control because such groups are emerging and will continue to emerge in future. Still, We can control and be responsible for our own technological access so that no other source can replicate our data and we can feel safe and not prone to such activities.
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