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According to this weeks reading, “hactivism is a form of political activism in which computer hacking skills are heavily employed against powerful commercial institutions and governments, amount other targets” (Sorell, 2015, p. 391). Hactivism and cyber-activism are activities that are rooted in the political activism movements in our country and others. Political activist can sometimes use hactivism as means to supplement political movements that happening in the streets. However, this is not always the case in that small groups or lone individuals that do not necessarily have significant political support also conduct acts of hactivism. Essentially, hactivism does not require a lot of support in relation to how traditional offline activism does. Small groups or lone individuals can cause substantial problems for large companies or government institutions. Common themes amongst hacktivists are the desire for Internet freedom, increased government transparency, and even revenge (Warren & Leitch, 2016, p. 202).

Hactivism is one element of activism that exists on a spectrum. “If one extreme of cyber-activism is the secret but coordinated electronic attack mounted by a few individuals, the other extreme might be marked by the public use of highly accessible Internet resources – the best known social networking platforms-for the coordination of highly visible mass protest on the streets” (Sorell, 2015, p. 394). One example of the other side of the spectrum would be the Area 51 raid that was planned to take place this weekend, but has since fizzled when the leader of the event backed out of the ordeal.

The threat of cyber-terrorism is definitely a concern for security professionals. There are multiple examples of hackers successfully infiltrating government computer resources; in which many are concerned that terrorist could do the same. However, terrorist organizations have used the Internet in other ways to further their cause. The Internet has been a powerful recruitment tool for terrorist organizations on social media platforms. Dinniss explains “it is no secret that terrorist organizations such as the so-called Islamic State have made great strides in utilizing information and communication technologies for encrypted communications, recruitment, propaganda, and fundraising, However, to date, no terrorist group appears to have utilized these technologies to directly launch an attack (2018, p. 43). Currently, the threat appears to be a “phantom menace” however, cyber-terrorism is a real threat and must continue to be mitigated.

Cyber security professionals must recognize that cyber-activists and cyber-terrorists motivations are mutually supportive to each other. Cyber-activists strive for less-restrictive control on the Internet and use hactivism in pursuit of their desired result. On the other hand, cyber-terrorism exploit less restrictive Internet laws to further their causes, especially through recruitment. Furthering knowledge in the field of cyber security and recruiting more individuals in the cyber security field is the best solution to counter the actions of cyber hactivist and cyber-terrorist.




Dinniss, H. (2018). The Threat of Cyber Terrorism and What International Law Should (Try To) Do about It. Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 19. Retrieved from

Sorell, T. (2015). Human Rights and Hacktivism: The Cases of Wikileaks and Anonymous. Journal of Human Rights Practice, (7)3, Pages 391–410. Retrieved from

Warren, M., & Leitch, S. (2016). The syrian electronic army – a hacktivist group. Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society, 14(2), 200-212. Retrieved from doi:

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