DEFINITION of 'Hacktivism'

A social or political activist plan that is carried out by breaking into and wreaking havoc on a secure computer system. Hacktivism may be directed at corporate or government targets. Examples of hacktivism include denial of service attacks, which shut down a system to prevent customer access, software that enables users to access censored web pages, and the leaking of sensitive information.

BREAKING DOWN 'Hacktivism'

The methods hacktivists use are illegal and are a form of cybercrime. Hacktivists exploit flaws in many organizations' computer systems. Hacktivism poses a threat not only to the organizations that are attacked, but also to the consumers and citizens whose sensitive data are stored by those organizations. LulzSec and Anonymous are two well-known hacktivist groups whose activities have made headlines.

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