In the world of hackers, there are many players. Some hackers are paid to find the weaknesses in computer systems to help companies enhance security. Others become involved with illegal security breaches in order to expose wrongdoing. And still others are only concerned with stealing personal data for monetary gain, such as the obtaining of credit card numbers and passwords.
Hacktivism is one type of hacking which falls under the ethical hacker category. Hacktivists, like other types of hackers are defined by their motivation, which in this case is political or social. There is much debate about whether this type of activity should be considered illegal, as it revolves around free speech, and the protesting of such.
Stolen Data and Hacktivism
Hacktivists are considered by some to be of major concern. And the data seems to back this up, with recent findings stating that they were responsible for more than half of the data stolen as a result of cyber attacks in 2011. This recent data also revealed that hacktivists were the ones who engaged in the rampant looting of data once system security had been breached.
The Changing Face of Hacktivism
The motivation of these rogue characters, along with their talent for finding and exposing information that’s of interest to the general public are two facets of the practice that are making companies sit up and take notice, but in a positive way.
Many individuals involved with the stoppage of cybercrime and the increase of system security are now considering hacktivists to be a potential benefit to their existing operations, and view their level of technical knowledge to be going to waste on exploits when it could be applied to more noble causes.
Hacktivists have already served to change the way in which corporations communicate with each other. In exploiting the weaknesses in security systems and other networks, hacktivists have drawn the attention of those in senior management to the need for better security and communication.
Although most of these individuals are in the fourteen to twenty-two year old range, there are those who engage in this type of activity that are already employed in the security and IT fields.
Targeting Young Hacktivists
It is the young hacktivists whose interests need to be diverted, say experts. And methods to give them incentives to channeling their talents have yet to be developed.
Joining a hacker group like Anonymous can seem very exciting to a young and amateur hacktivist. Not only can they learn more about the methods and coding used in higher-level exploits, but they could very easily be swayed into becoming a part of the activity by the small group of highly-skilled individuals who tend to hold influence over the other less-experienced members of this group.
In addition to the starry-eyed excitement that comes from rubbing elbows with the hacktivism elite is the chance to become involved in the political process in a way that may be entirely new to them. Add to that the fact that being a member of a group named Anonymous communicates freedom from accountability.
Understanding All Sides
When considering a solution to how to get young hacktivists involved in online activities which won’t result in possible arrest, an important facet of solution development will be an ability to see both sides of the situation. In putting themselves in their proverbial virtual shoes, those wishing to harness their talents can gain a much clearer understanding about why an Anonymous membership may hold more value to them than working for a security company.
And perhaps transparency by companies wishing to hire young hacktivists would eliminate the misinformation that can lead them to be wary of working in a corporate setting.
- Hacktvists a potential talent pool for organizations (eweek.com)
- Hacktivists biggest data thieves in 2011 (hindustantimes.com)
Guest author Jesse Schwarz enjoys writing on a variety of topics for Highspeed-internet-providers.com, especially in the technology arena. He has resources available that can help consumers find the best internet providers Seattle.