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Hacktivists are

politically and socially motivated individuals that use computer systems in order to protest and promote their cause. Moreover, they are usually targeting high profile websites, corporations, intelligence agencies and military institutions.[1]
ideologically motivated individuals that can dynamically form groups/subgroups, usually lacking a central organisation structure. Their main motivation is usually the defence of ideas that are sometime manifested.[2]
A disparate group containing a wide variety of ideologically oriented groups and individuals with varying motivations. There is considerable overlap between hacktivists and criminal subcontractors at the level of techniques.[3]


"Targets of hacktivists are selected in such a way, that media attention to successful cyber-attacks create high visibility (e.g. government sites, big companies, media, public and private infrastructure components, etc.). It is common that breached data are published to embarrass victims and achieve desired public attention. Although not considered to possess average capabilities, due to group dynamics and media visibility, hacktivists may achieve severe impact."[4]

These groups and individuals overload e-mail servers and hack into websites to send a political message. Most international hacktivist groups appear bent on propaganda rather than causing damage to critical infrastructures.

"Hacktivists and individuals causing nuisance favour activities such as denial of service, web defacement and electronic graffiti to disrupt business and government activities. These activities are frequently opportunistic in nature rather than targeted, taking advantage of a victim's poor cyber security posture."[5]

The term "is said to be originally coined by Omega, a member of Cult of the Dead Cow hacker collective in 1996, describing it as 'the use of legal and/ or illegal digital tools in pursuit of political ends.'"[6]


See also[]