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 12:12 PM


  • Defense
    Soldiers from the Old Guard test the second iteration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) capability set during an exercise at Fort Belvoir, VA in Fall 2019. Photo by Courtney Bacon

    IVAS and the future of defense acquisition

    The Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System has been in the works for years, but the potentially multibillion deal could mark a paradigm shift in how the Defense Department buys and leverages technology.

  • Cybersecurity
    Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff)

    Mayorkas announces cyber 'sprints' on ransomware, ICS, workforce

    The Homeland Security secretary announced a series of focused efforts to address issues around ransomware, critical infrastructure and the agency's workforce that will all be launched in the coming weeks.

Stay Connected