Saturday, May 03, 2008

Increase in Hacktivism?

Online protest and hacktivist attacks are gaining more publicity but does this reflect a sudden increase in activity or just more press coverage? A recent blog posting concluding a sudden increase in activity has gained some media attention:

"While incidents of Hacktivism are not new, they are beginning to become a lot more frequent — perhaps due to the availability of tools to conduct hacktivist mischief, but also perhaps due to the ubiquitous social networking mechanisms which can now be used as to build consensus when times of cultural or political unrest present the opportunity.

In any event, Hacktivism is becoming a disturbing trend, and one which can have serious ripple effects that interfere with Internet operational continuity — sometimes in ways which we may have not even thought of yet."

While the availability of social networks and 'hacktivist' tools do contribute to both increasing number of attacks and their effectiveness, most professionals that closely follow politically motivated computer crimes and hacktivism believe there has been a steady increase in activity for several years, with ups and downs following political events in the real world (such as Olympic protests, Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, etc.). What has become more frequent is press coverage of attacks which creates a cycle of more activity followed by more press (see Hacktivism & Politically Motivated Computer Crime for a detailed analysis of the relationship between hacktivism and media coverage).

‘Hacktivism’ Incidents Escalate, Become More Frequent

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