The Best Hacktivist Groups in the World

The phenomenon of hacking has gone beyond stealing information. Hackers now come together to fight for a common cause. The world of computer hacking has two parts, the black hats, and the white hats.

White hats are government and government functionaries who fight against cybercrimes such as spamming and scams. In contrast, black hat hackers are individuals that exploit weaknesses in a computer system to steal information and cause chaos on the internet. 

Hackers today have an unprecedented ability to infiltrate and dissect the security of any computer system, be it governmental or commercial. They have gained this power by working together to break into foreign computer networks in a quest to fight for the greater good. Such a type of hacking is known as hacktivism. 

Hacktivism has become an outlet for many people to express their views on numerous issues, including politics and social justice.

Hacktivism is hacking for a cause. It is often seen as malicious or used to cause harm when, however, it is using computer systems, networks, or other technologies to achieve political objectives. It can include spreading information and purposefully disseminating information that government organizations or groups wish to suppress. Read on. 

What is Hacktivism?

While hackers may attack a website for money or private data, hacktivists have loftier goals, various tools and methods are used to achieve them. But whether you’re a person who knows about the risks of hacking or an innocent bystander, it’s essential to know about the risks involved.

Hacktivism is not so much a specific form of hacking as it is a form of activism. The differences between hacktivism and typical hacking lie in the hacker’s motivations. A common misconception is that hacktivists are the same as cybercriminals. While they do use similar tools and methods, their intentions differ significantly. Hacktivism is a term that refers to the use of hacking, online and digital tools, and computer crime to advance political or social agendas.

Behind the term “hacktivism” are people who use their skills to secure, retain, and extend people’s political freedoms worldwide. It is a collection of many stories about combining programming skills with critical thinking to make the world better by exposing unjust systems and creating new technologies. These hacktivist groups can have different reasons for their protests. For example, while some hacktivists protest government spending, others protest their alleged censorship, unnecessary war, and corporate monopoly. 

Hacktivists have the reputation of being aggressive, disruptive, and provocative. They make headlines by targeting government agencies, financial institutions, security firms, telecommunication providers, and other companies deemed oppressive and exploitative or violating human rights. Moreover, they aim to empower users to become more informed about corporate leaders’ political agendas and privacy rights.

Best Hacktivist Groups in the World

These are some of the most prominent hacktivist groups around the world:

Anonymous 

The Anonymous hacktivist group is a controversial organization whose members help the public by exposing illicit activities and providing content that helps people understand these activities. The hacktivist group had its origin in 2003 but gained recognition in 2008 after launching DDOS attacks on the Church of Scientology. As a result, they began to hamper the Church’s ability to function by disabling their website. Thus negatively impacting their search rankings in Google and overwhelming their fax machines with all-black images.

The internet hacktivist group has identified many oppressive organizations, corrupt companies, and essential players. They use their skill to bring awareness to these hidden stories or punish these organizations for unethical behavior. The hacktivists have also targeted websites, embarrassing individuals, and leaking documents. Hacktivists often force sites to shut down to prevent further attacks and leaks.

Some critics have called them terrorists due to some of their attacks, as they do not approve of these methods and feel it’s an overused term by politicians. However, other individuals view their activities and believe the end justifies the means. 

The international group of activists, or hacktivists, has no assigned leader. Instead, it describes itself as a non-hierarchical collective, which organizes anonymous activism on the internet. The group uses DDoS attacks and releases confidential information to support their activism concerning freedom of expression, censorship on the internet, government corruption, and corporate abuse.

Anonymous has no central leadership or organization, and any statements made by supposed representatives are not authorized. The group often wears the now-famous Guy Fawkes mask during events.

WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks refers to a “multinational media organization and associated library” founded by Julian Assange. Its website, initiated in 2006, contains secret information: news leaks, classified media provided by anonymous sources, and material relating to whistleblowers. The group’s primary focus is to expose ethical wrongdoing by governments and corporations. The non-profit group has a minimalist website with an image of Assange as its logo. As of 2010, the website reportedly released a total of 1.2 million “documents classified secret or greater.” 

WikiLeaks published leaked material and fact-finding documents. 

Furthermore, WikiLeaks created a database of documents leaked from the U.S. State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. Since its inception in 2006, WikiLeaks has maintained a database of documents leaked from various governments, including Iceland, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The organization also has a public submission system for whistleblowers to contribute anonymous tips via Tor software or directly to the site. 

The organization believes that bringing significant media attention to under-reported conflicts and corruption would spur valuable discussion among citizens around the globe. 

A notable release of documents was when WikiLeaks published The Afghanistan War Logs. It was the most significant classified military leak in history. It contained over 91,000 records, most of which are from 2004 to 2009, providing the most detailed information on the war. 

WikiLeaks released the documents on 25 July 2010 and sent them to Guardian, Der Spiegel, and The New York Times, who then made most of the content available to the public on their websites. The collection alone was more than 20 times the size of the Iraq War Logs collection published previously by WikiLeaks.

LulzSec

LulzSec is a group of six hackers who call themselves Avunit, Pwnsauce, Sabu, T-flow, Topiary, and Kayla. The team aims to break into government systems, private institutions, and corporations. The group releases statements on Twitter before infiltrating their target. After the infiltration, they release a “leak” or a dump of information from the target server. LulzSec calls their dumps ‘LULZ’.

LulzSec is a name created from “LULZ,”; an internet slang for laughs, and “SEC,”; abbreviation for security. Since its inception, they have worked as individuals of various ages and backgrounds. They place knowledge together to defeat those who protect their information if misused.

Their most notable hacks included the BBC, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Nintendo, SOCA, and HBGary, with activities pinnacled in a widely reported distributed denial-of-service attack on intelligence firm Stratfor. The group released the private information of thousands of individuals and various companies.

LulzSec launched what it described as the first phase of its campaign on 13 May 2011, when it hacked into and vandalized the website of The Sun, a daily tabloid newspaper in Glasgow, Scotland. The group claimed that their action was in retaliation to The Sun’s publication of a story from earlier that day. The publication attempted to identify some of LulzSec’s members based on information from their Twitter accounts.

LulzSec hacked into Arizona police websites and published information they found, including usernames and passwords. Additionally, the group uploaded a video to YouTube denouncing the country’s new immigration law, brandishing a large picture of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

LulzSec protested that the true path to total information awareness is through absolute adherence to The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and The transparency of the internet.

Legion of Doom (LOD)

It is a group of elite hackers dedicated to outwitting the authorities. LOD’s members were generally technically savvy high school and college students who loved finding ways to outfox their so-called handlers at MCI/Information Services. By the spring of 1984, the Legion of Doom (LOD) had already become a legend on the computer network. Three friends formed it a year earlier after successfully breaking into an Illinois Bell computer. LOD was now a significant network presence, with members from as far away as Oregon and Texas. They broke into a security system on MCI’s DEC computer, allowing them to eavesdrop on any other user in real-time.

Professional and talented, the Legion of Doom (LOD) was one of the most popular hacking groups. The LOD became a driving force for confidential information sharing through the ARPAnet and Usenet. It was the first hacker group to release confidential credit reports on various companies. 

Active through the 1980s to early 2000s, the group wrote the hacker manifesto that contained infamous quotes. Quotes like; “Information wants to be free” and “Today there are computers in almost every home; tomorrow there may be computers in every closet…telephone lines connect people”.  

The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)

The Syrian Electronic Army is a highly organized hacktivist group from Syria competing on the internet since 2011. They use a series of aggressive, sometimes-destructive tactics to target governments and media organizations.

The group began from the Syrian Civil War during the 27 October 2011 arrests of several prominent Syrian activists. The SEA has targeted organizations it considers to support terrorism or the agenda of regime change in Syria. First, it targeted news outlets such as the Associated Press and National Public Radio. Later on, the group attacked defense contractors in the U.S., Britain, Canada, and France. 

It is known for hacking into computer systems and defacing websites of the Syrian government’s opponents, including Human Rights Watch. In 2013, the SEA began targeting Western news outlets such as ‘The Guardian’ to reach an international audience with their propaganda.

The Guardian stated that “there are not full-time hackers in Syria who work for the revolution.” Still, there are “computer activists who support the revolution from inside and outside Syria.”

It is the first Arab country to have an “Internet army” launch cyber-attacks openly against its enemies. The group began from the Syrian Civil War during the 27 October 2011 arrests of several prominent Syrian activists. 

The army operates a Facebook page that states its purpose as “connecting the youth of the world.” 

Rumors were connecting President Assad’s administration to the hacker group’s activities. However, the group stated that it has no affiliation with President Assad’s administration. 

Conclusion

The internet has revolutionized the way people think, interact, and rebel. Hacktivists use hacking skills to fight corruption, government cover-up of internal projects, and other various external practices. 

The main objective of hacktivism groups is to spread information that others wish to hide or suppress. They majorly carry out activities through denial of service attacks, password cracking, proxy-based anonymizing email, and DNS poisoning.