Hacktivism Unveiled

By: Vajratiya Vajrobol, International Center for AI and Cyber Security Research and Innovations (CCRI), Asia University, Taiwan, vvajratiya@gmail.com

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“Hacktivists” are hackers who use the internet for political, social, or ideological purposes. The phrase combines the terms “activist” with “hacker.” Hacktivism is the practice of advancing a certain social or political agenda through the use of hacking tools and tactics; frequently, the objectives include awareness-raising or societal transformation.

  • Important traits of hacktivism consist of:

1.Social or Political Motivation: – Hacktivists are generally driven by social, political, or ideological reasons. Their motivations for acting could include advancing environmentalism, free speech, government transparency, human rights, or other causes [1].

2. Cyber Operations: – Hacktivism includes a variety of cyber-related actions, such as data breaches, information leaks, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and website vandalism. The hacktivist’s goals may determine the techniques they employ and the intensity of their acts [2].

3. Digital Activism: – One type of digital activism is hacktivism, in which people utilise their technical know-how to further a cause. While some hacktivists focus on non-intrusive ways to spread their message, others may engage in actions that are seen as disruptive or unlawful [3].

4. Being anonymous: – To evade being identified and facing legal consequences, many hacktivist groups operate anonymously. Because certain hacktivist movements are decentralised, it might be difficult for authorities to link particular persons or groups to specific attacks [4].

5. Target Selection: – Government websites, businesses, or groups viewed as enemies are among the targets that hacktivists frequently pick because they support their cause. The goal of the target selection is to highlight the hacktivist’s message [5].

6. Important Actions:– Certain hacktivist acts are symbolic in character, meaning they are intended to convey a message rather than do substantial harm. Protests can take the shape of, say, vandalism of websites or brief interruptions of services [6].

7. Whistleblowing: – Information that hacktivists feel is in the public interest may be exposed through whistleblowing actions. This may entail disclosing private correspondence, classified documents, or other sensitive data [7].

8. Legal and Ethical Debate: – Hacktivism presents moral and legal issues about balancing between digital activism, freedom of speech, and the possible harm brought on by disruptions, data breaches, and illegal access.

Renowned hacktivist collectives like Lizard Squad and Anonymous have garnered recognition for their actions [8]. It is noteworthy that perspectives on hacktivism are not universal; some consider it a type of digital civic disobedience, while others perceive it as illegal and a threat to cybersecurity. Hacktivist actions may have legal consequences such as jail time, fines, and criminal prosecution.


  1. Jordan, T. (2008). The politics of technology: three types of hacktivism. Net Working/Networking: Citizen Initiated Internet Politics. Tampere: Tampere University, 254-280.
  2. Hai-Jew, S. (2015). Conducting Semantic-Based Network Analyses from Social Media Data: Extracted Insights about the Data Leakage Movement. In Design Strategies and Innovations in Multimedia Presentations (pp. 369-427). IGI Global.
  3. George, J. J., & Leidner, D. E. (2019). From clicktivism to hacktivism: Understanding digital activism. Information and Organization, 29(3), 100249.
  4. Pendergrass, W. S. (2013). What is Anonymous?: A case study of an information systems hacker activist collective movement. Robert Morris University.
  5. Romagna, M., & van den Hout, N. J. (2017, October). Hacktivism and website defacement: motivations, capabilities and potential threats. In 27th virus bulletin international conference (Vol. 1, pp. 1-10).
  6. Li, X. (2013). Hacktivism and the first amendment: Drawing the line between cyber protests and crime. Harv. JL & Tech., 27, 301.
  7. Riefenstahl, L. (2015). Hacktivism and Whistleblowing in the Era of Forced Transparency?. Cybercrime Risks and Responses: Eastern and Western Perspectives, 85.
  8. Stamm, E. (2015). We are all anonymous: beyond hacktivist stereotypes.
  9. Poonia, V., Goyal, M. K., Gupta, B. B., Gupta, A. K., Jha, S., & Das, J. (2021). Drought occurrence in different river basins of India and blockchain technology based framework for disaster management. Journal of Cleaner Production312, 127737.
  10. Gupta, B. B., & Sheng, Q. Z. (Eds.). (2019). Machine learning for computer and cyber security: principle, algorithms, and practices. CRC Press.
  11. Singh, A., & Gupta, B. B. (2022). Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and defense mechanisms in various web-enabled computing platforms: issues, challenges, and future research directions. International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems (IJSWIS)18(1), 1-43.
  12. Almomani, A., Alauthman, M., Shatnawi, M. T., Alweshah, M., Alrosan, A., Alomoush, W., & Gupta, B. B. (2022). Phishing website detection with semantic features based on machine learning classifiers: a comparative study. International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems (IJSWIS)18(1), 1-24.

Cite As:

Vajrobol V. (2024) Hacktivism Unveiled, Insights2Techinfo, pp.1

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