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The Cybercrime ‘Five’ Part Two: Hacktivist


Thursday, May 26, 2011



Who: When hackers are motivated by social, political, religious, environmental or other personal beliefs, they fall under this category. Normally thought of as natural-fiber wearing picketers with hand written cardboard signs or hanging out of trees in protest, these activists have swapped the spray paint for the keyboard and frequently use a variety of software tools readily available on the Internet to get their message across to the larger audience.

Why: Attention. Cyberspace is huge and a perfect platform to carry out their operations. Usually there is no direct financial gain. They are usually content with embarrassing or inconveniencing their opponents by defacing websites, arranging redirects, denial-of-service attacks or information theft/ disclosure. Forms of hacktivism also include web site parodies, anonymous blogging and virtual sit-ins (a variation of denial of service) and they can slip into corporate-espionage mode if it means they can weaken the opponent.

What : WikiLeaks has to be the most high profile example from recent months. WikiLeaks is an international non-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers. Its website, launched in 2006 claimed a database of more than 1.2 million documents within a year of its launch. Originally launched as a user-editable wiki, the site moved towards a more traditional publication model and no longer accepts user comments or edits.

About the Author

Carl Leonard

Principal Security Analyst

Carl Leonard is a Principal Security Analyst within Forcepoint’s Security Labs team. He is responsible for enhancing threat protection and threat monitoring technologies at Forcepoint, in collaboration with the company’s global Security Labs teams. Focusing on protecting companies against the...