Ethical hacking on which Hacktivist usually does

Hello. I’m here again to post new article about hacking. But after we go on our discussion, how are you? Have you considered hacking as an ethical or unethical? Or you are also part of those hacking activities? And where do you consider yourself to be (White, Black or Grey Hat Hacker)?


Hacking on the point of view of this hacktivist is something to be as a grey hat hacker. As I went on searching for some interesting topics about this there were three websites that can explain also this kind of topic.


Ethical Hacking which was defined by the Group GT2-S1 in their blog site named Cybercrime, under their topic Ethical Issues, this kind of hacking “that comes into play with cyber crime, “Ethical hackers,” or “white hat hackers” are those who try to compromise computer systems for the sake of informing the content owner so they can fix the problem. Some security professionals do this for a living, so there is no ethical issue, since the target company is aware of and is paying for this service.” Moreover with this, “sometimes the motivations of hackers play into how hacking is viewed in the ethical realm. When hackers attack something for some type of gain, monetary or otherwise, that would come at the cost of the targeted system, they are often looked down upon – there is not really an ethical ground to stand on in this case. But when hackers break into systems for fun, or to better their own skills and learn more about security, there is an ethical gray area. Motivation definitely affects how hackers and their actions are viewed by others, but does motivation play a part in the ethics of the action?”


Hacktivism, still on the article I found online, “is exactly what it sounds like: hacking + activism, using computers and the Internet to promote a political or social cause. Obviously, some types of hacktivism are illegal, like breaking into proprietary systems or stealing information. Some types of hacktivism are legal, like website parodies. One of the most common types of hacktivism is a denial of service attack. This attack involves sending large amount of traffic to a certain website until it reaches its limit and crashes. More recently, DoS attacks have been done in a distributed way, so that traffic comes from hundreds or thousands of nodes around the world. This makes the source of attacks harder to trace. DoS attacks are illegal under US law, but very hard to enforce.”  While reading this, the author believed that Hacktivism is in an ethical grey area. But there are some questions still unknown which are, “Today, the Internet is the primary medium for our communication, and grassroots movements are using it as such. Is it ethically acceptable for social causes to use hacktivist techniques to further their opinion? Where should the line be set? How do we balance free speech rights and still protect corporations and people from too much hacktivist harm?”

Going to the second article I found, from the Network Security Resource, based on their article, “The debate on the information protection industry”, Ethical Hackers and Politics on this content was considered as a “third type of hacking for the greater good diverges much from this framework, hacktivists generally seek to pursue a political goal through blatant attacks on computer systems. The attacks are often not very advanced – hacktivism by and large differs from the other hacker forms discussed above in that the political goal completely overshadows concerns for demonstrations of technical ability and networking finesse. Many ethical hackers are opposed to standard hacktivist techniques, which include replacing home pages with political content and pseudo-denial of service attacks that make web sites inaccessible for a period.” Stephen Wray, in Electronic Civil Disobedience and the World Wide Web of Hacktivism: A Mapping of Extra parliamentarian Direct Action Net Politics discusses a sub genre of hacktivism, electronic civil disobedience. These hacktivists generally acknowledge that some of what they are doing (changing the content of targeted web pages, for example) is and should be illegal. Hacktivists are not trying to call attention to networking issues. They want to use the network to call attention to broader political issues. They borrow “the tactics of trespass and blockade from . . . earlier social movements” to generate greater public awareness of an issue. Electronic Civil Disobedience, following this heritage, generally is undertaken in the open, without pseudonyms and without efforts to avoid arrest. Ironically, hacktivists may be in complete agreement with that establishment about the legitimacy of the ownership of information and the need to secure that information on networks. Like civil disobedient before them, they don’t (necessarily) claim that the laws they are breaking are wrong, or even that their actions are not disruptive – they simply claim that sacrifices can and should be made to higher goals. More recently, hacktivist activity is taking place in the name of superpower rivalry between China and the United States. Conclusion that the author written about this was, “Even for those who do not count themselves among the ranks of the ethical hackers, it is important to be aware that security often does come at the cost of openness, convenience and efficiency. University systems are acutely aware of this (as are hackers), and in keeping with general commitments to openness and the free exchange of ideas, have much less secure systems. Information technology security is often the challenge of balancing the demands of users with the need for data confidentiality and integrity.”

Vic Hargrave

Lastly, from Mr. Vic Hargrave on his article, Hacker, Hacktivist, or Cybercriminal? “Hacktivism does not fit neatly into either white hat or black hat categories.  Unlike either their white hat or black hat counterparts, hacktivists are motivated by politics not profit.  They find themselves at ideological odds with many organizations and feel justified in their computer attacks against them.  However, depending on whether you agree with a given hacktivist group’s point of view, you could see hacktivists as either white hats or black hats. In October, 2011, Anonymous took down 40 child pornography websites and publicly revealed the names of over 1500 people who frequented those sites. But the group also attacked computers belonging to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and leaked personal information of over 2000 BART users on the Internet. This was done in retaliation for BART officials shutting off cell phone service to prevent people from communicating to coördinate a protest against a police shooting on a BART train.  Whether or not Anonymous agrees with BART’s actions is not really the important thing. The group took action against BART without due process and leaked personal information of BART users who were unlucky enough to get caught in the crossfire of this feud.”


To a certain extent, hacktivists blur the distinction between white hat and black hat hackers. They often get involved in illegal activities but, as we’ve seen with Anonymous, for causes that can sometimes can be considered just. Hacktivists in another group of hacker can be known as grey hat. The term grey hat was coined by the hacker group L0pht back in 1998. It was originally used to describe hackers who report the vulnerabilities they find to the organizations whose computers security they breach. Later in 2002, the Anti-Sec community used the term to describe people who work in the security community during the day and work as black hat hackers on off hours. Since 2002 grey hat has taken on diverse meanings.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit digital rights advocacy group, defined grey hats as ethical hackers who inadvertently or intentionally violate the law to research and improve security.  It is this definition that can be best applies to hacktivists, except that they are not so much interested in improving security as they are in advancing their political causes.


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