Hacktivism Is Breathing It’s Last Breath
There has been a bitter war raging across the internet. This war uses technology to promote a specific political agenda or to make a change in societal behavior.
Some of the success of these tactics is now gaining traction in the corporate world in the expression of censorship. Some of the social media giants are now censoring Conservative points of view, including even banning the authors from using their applications.
Many of these hacktivists think that their acts are a direct expression of their right to free speech, human rights and even freedom of information.
There are “hacktivists” who misuse computer systems and networks in their pursuit of activism. While some of their efforts resulted in positive results, a majority of their battles were designed to force their political point of view on those they attacked. Many of these “hacktivists” work in the shadowy world of technology and they think of themselves as cyber-revolutionaries.
It was in 2012 that FBI arrested Barrett Brown, the de facto head “hacktivist” of the group anonymous. For his actions, he spent four years behind bars before being released in 2016.
When he went to jail another “self- proclaimed leader” seemed to rise to the top, his name was Martin Gottesfeld who made his name trying to take down Children’s hospital in 2014 using a Distributed Denial of Service attack. In 2019 he was sentenced to 10 years for this incident.
Many of these hacktivists groups are ad-hoc with no real organization or financial resources. Which is why hacktivists take advantage of free or inexpensive technology infrastructure, designed for another purpose, that they can repurpose to communicate coordinate and launch their attacks quickly, albeit haphazardly. All it takes is a few social activists to create a vast campaign that could bring powerful institutions to their knees.
According to NPR, while in incarcerated, Barrett Brown spent time thinking about the past mistakes that Anonymous made and found that most were related to their lack of coordination. Learning from those he hatched his next big idea, to provide a mechanism for people who do feel that sense of civic duty to have an impact. It, he hopes won’t repeat those made in the past by anonymous. The basis of his latest effort he designed new software program he calls, Pursuance. He thinks it will take hacktivism into the future. According to Barrett, he said that the goal of the Pursuance system is to create a program that can amplify the efforts of activists, journalists, and non-profits in free, open source, and secure environment.
The height of the hacktivists heyday occurred in 2015 when they coordinated and carried out 35 successful attacks, but since that time these attacks have declined steadily with no attacks so far in 2019. There’s been an overall decrease of 95% since 2015. This decline is most likely due to pressure on them from law enforcement and the arrests of their two defacto leaders.
The government authorized a few undercover operations who took on the moniker anonymous to carry out some of their tactics. These began to tarnish the groups’ name. With their image and strength diminished, the became distracted and lost further focus causing some of their attacks to expose harmless civilians instead of the corrupt government, or corporate actors they were hoping to reveal.
All in all, this contributed to the failure of some of their attacks.
Then there was the fact that a majority of those in the group did not approve of the use of interrupting business services using DDoS tactics, and that was another blow that “took the wind out of their sails” for activity, even more.
Now with the more advanced security measures in use that effectively block the activities of the smaller and less known hacktivist groups. We have to ask, Is this the death of hacktivism?
Or is this just the calm before the storm now that Barrett Brown is out of prison and is starting to implement his plans for Pursuance.