Hacktivism and Cyberterrorism

This term wasn’t mention either in the lecture slides or lecture record, but I found it after a while wandering on the Internet. And I’m talking about “Cyberterrorism“.

In essence, hacktivism is the combination of hacking and activism. It is an attempt to raise awareness and produce social and political changes. These attempts are normall non-violent and  cause no serious damage. There are four methods hacktivists use to achieve their goals: virtual blockades, e-mail attacks, hacking and computer break-ins; and computer viruses and worms. Having said that, hacktivism primarily occurs in the form of website defacement. WikiLeaks, Anonymous an

On the other hand, cyberterrorism, is far more destructive. An example for cyberterrorism is the case in Sweden where communications were disrupted at an airport control tower in Worcester and block 911 calls in November 2015. Cyberterrorism has been defined by the American FBI as the “the premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which result in violence against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” Even though the act of cyberterrorism itself doesn’t cause violence, its consequence in real world, including death and violence, can be directly result from cyberterrorism. For example, the spread of disinformation by cyberterrorists can spark riots and protests.

Hacktivism and cyberterrorism use the same technique, possibly result in the same action, like protest, however, they are differentiated by their purpose. They seem to be similar can easily to be mistaken, but actually are two separate things. I wonder, if that is the reason for the stigma of hacktivism?



One response to “Hacktivism and Cyberterrorism

  1. I Liked your comparison between the practices of both the hactivist organisations and the cyberterrorists, it could be interesting to explore further how some entities such as Lulzsec blur that line, at least in regards to public opinion.


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