Digital Conflict

By Kevin Coleman

Blog archive

Hacktivism on the rise

The fine line between cyber activists and “hacktivists” is becoming increasingly blurred. Many of the groups involved in activism have used the Internet to get their message out and much more. In many cases the groups have seen a substantial increase in recruitment, and also a significant increase in their effectiveness and efficiency in communicating their messages as a result of these efforts.

In a brainstorming session on this topic, distributed denial-of-service attacks were compared to the old sign-carrying demonstrations outside physical facilities. If you think about it, there are similarities. Both are an effective means of disrupting business. As foot traffic is disrupted by the sign-toting protesters marching back and forth in front of a physical location, distributed denial-of-service traffic slows down real traffic to the site. In some cases, it can even crash the server and stop all online traffic to the targeted organization's website.

With both the physical and virtual manifestation of protests, there is always a chance of unknowingly connecting with radical elements and unintentionally triggering acts of aggression in the physical and virtual worlds that go beyond protesting. Recent events have caused government website security professionals around the globe to brace for an increase in cyberattacks as hacktivists aim to cause widespread online disruption and get their message out.

Cybersecurity experts warn that even small companies need to prepare for cyberattacks given the pervasive and continuous acts of cyber aggression on those involved in government and national security. These acts of cyber aggression, whether classified as a protest or as a cyberattack, have increased to the point where some companies are taking matters into their own hands and retaliating. This is a dangerous and a slippery slope, and no one in a position of authority is taking action.

Posted by Kevin Coleman on Jan 13, 2011 at 9:27 PM

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