Saturday, February 28, 2015

We Are Legion: Hacktivists & Anonymous

Anonymous and Hacktivists were in the news last year because of the demonstrations we had in Brazil, protesting against the organization of the World Cup. This is a very controversial group of demonstrators and will generate a lot of discussions. Please, use this scene with adults only.

What does Hacktivism mean?

Hacktivism is the act of hacking a website or computer network in an effort to convey a social or political message. The person who carries out the act of hacktivism is known as a hacktivist.

In contrast to a malicious hacker who hacks a computer with the intent to steal private information or cause other harm, hacktivists engage in similar forms of disruptive activities to highlight political or social causes. For the hacktivist, hacktivism is an Internet-enabled strategy to exercise civil disobedience. Acts of hacktivism may include website defacement, denial-of-service attacks (DoS), redirects, website parodies, information theft, virtual sabotage and virtual sit-ins.

Hacktivism and Anonymous are connected:

II. Look at the sign below. What is the message given by Anonymous?


III. Watch the movie segment and answer the questions below.

1. What is Anonymous?

2. How does the group operate?

3. What kind of activities is Anonymous known for?

4. How are hacktivists and Anonymous connected?

5. Read the answers, according to the site 

What is Anonymous?

Anonymous is a loosely organized international movement of online activists who share similar social and political ideals. Anonymous says it promotes access to information, free speech, and transparency, and also supports various anti corruption and anti authoritarian movements.

How does the group operate?

The group is generally perceived as anarchic, with no controlling leadership. Basically, individual members make their own decisions and relay their protest ideas and activities to one another via social media. If those ideas and activities gather enough support in that community, a collective agreement is made, dates and virtual “meeting times” are set, and participants proceed to launch a campaign to accomplish whatever goal they’ve set out to achieve.

Members of Anonymous say it’s easy to join the group. Just hide your identity while conducting your online activities and you’re in. Because of the complex, informal and, of course, anonymous nature of the group, it’s not really possible to establish an accurate demographic on its membership.

What kind of activities is Anonymous known for?

The group is associated with collaborative hacking activities (“hacktivism”) that are often launched as a form of retaliatory protest against governmental agencies, commercial entities, and other institutions. Such attacks commonly come in the form of denial-of-service (DoS) or distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS), which shut down Internet websites or other Internet-based services. Hackers associated with the group have claimed cyber attacks ranging from minor pranks against various corporations to shutting down the website of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

 IV. Discuss these questions:

1. Do you agree with what the group Anonymous has done? 

2. What are some examples that you have found of hacktivism and activism? 

3. Do you think that hacktivism and activism is for the greater good of all or better off nonexistent?

4. There were many demonstrations in Brazil protesting against the organization of the World Cup 2014. Many demonstrators wore Anonymous masks. On the other hand, most of these demonstrations started pacifically but ended up with a lot of vandalism and violence, supported by Black Blocs, a group whose participants are usually associated with anarchism. What's your opinion about hiding one's face with a mask and promoting violent acts to achieve your demonstration goals? Were these demonstrations in sync with the Anonymous and Hacktivists original purposes? Why (not)?

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