Hacktivism, commonly known as actions by individuals or groups that using hacking skills to spread a specific message and bring attention to a political or social cause, has risen and then fallen globally in the past five years. In the meantime, hacktivist activities have evolved, with an increase in state-sponsored hacktivism using false hacktivist personas, and the appearance of hacktivists who could also be described as "entrepreneurial geeks." Not all hacktivists break into network systems; some perform troll activities to create online disruptions on social media to accomplish their goals. The recent phenomenon of fandom nationalists turned trolls adds another layer to the many roles of hacktivism.
This talk will discuss the role of hacktivism in information operations through case studies of hacktivist activities from various regions and countries, and provide insight into the structure, organization, motivations, goals, tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) of these hacktivist groups. The talk will also analyze how other threat actors utilize hacktivists to conduct information operations. Lastly, the talk will reflect on the future direction of global hacktivism in information operations as geopolitical tensions among major powers increase and nation-states reposition their cyber defense posture.
Hacktivism is evolving in the disinformation age with traditional hacktivist activities of breaking into systems and emerging hacktivist activities of creating online disruptions without breaking into systems. Hacktivist actors are not only non-state actors, but also nation state actors who use false hacktivist personas conducting information operations.