#1273316: Down and Out in Hacktivist Land
Activism via hacking efforts in the early 2010s conducted under such banners as Anonymous, AntiSec and LulzSec made "hacktivism" a widely used term. But since 2016, the number of website hacks, defacements and information leakage - or doxing - campaigns that can be definitively traced to hacktivists has sharply declined.
From 2015 to 2018, hacktivist attacks decreased by nearly 95 percent, IBM X-Force reported in May, citing a global decline in attacks perpetrated under the banner of Anonymous and associated groups since 2016.
"Since then, attacks by Anonymous have declined significantly, possibly due to an attrition of key leadership, differences of opinion and a struggle to find an ideological focus," said Camille Singleton, an IBM X-Force intelligence analyst, in a blog post.
Cyberthreat intelligence firm Recorded Future characterizes the current state of affairs as "a return to normalcy, in which hacktivist groups are usually small sets of regional actors targeting specific organizations to protest regional events, or nation-state groups operating under the guise of hacktivism."
The rise and fall in hacktivism has been a long time coming. The coining of the term, as recounted in Reuters reporter Joseph Menn's recently released book, "Cult of the Dead Cow" traces to the group called CdC, which says it invented the word in 1994.
In 1998, CdC issued a press release urging "hacktivists" to use its remote access tool Back Orifice - "a crude pun on Microsoft's BackOffice software," as Menn notes - to hack into organizations that did business with China.
Although hacktivism incidents are now relatively rare, they still pop up. "Most recently, groups like Digital Revolution and Lab Dookhtegan infiltrated and dumped sensitive documents online belonging to Russian and Iranian state security groups, respectively," researchers from Recorded Future's Insikt research group say in a new analysis of international hacktivism trends. "However, these groups have not gone out of their way to call themselves 'hacktivists.'"
Recorded Future says it counts about 80 hacktivist groups - from Anonymous Brasil and CyberBerkut to New Romanic Army and United Cyber Calipate - as being active since 2010.
|Date added||Aug. 24, 2019, 5:13 p.m.|