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Briefly define cyber-terrorism. Define hacktivism. Illustrate examples of each in current events within the last decade.  Cyber-terrorism  is defined as a computer based attack aimed at disabling vital computer  systems so as to intimidate, coerce, or harm a government or section of  the population. (Cyber-terrorism, n.d).  Examples of this include  introducing a virus to vulnerable networks, website defacing, hacking  into computer systems or terroristic threats made with electronic  communication.  Hacktivism is defined as the practice of gaining  unauthorized access to a computer system and carrying out various  disruptive actions as a means of achieving political or social goals.  (Hacktivism, n.d).  Examples of this include data breaches conducted by  organizations such as WikiLeaks and the internet group Anonymous.

What is the fundamental difference between these two?  Although  both actions involve computers and are usually politically driven, the  difference between the two is cyber-terrorism is used primarily to cause  harm.

How has technology helped to advance these groups?   Technology has helped these groups to gain access to systems or networks  which they probably would not be able to access through legitimate  means.  It has also allowed for the spread of propaganda, the  organization of individuals in far places by providing a common meeting  point in chat rooms or discussion boards located on the Internet, and  the gathering of information and intelligence in preparation for illegal  activities. (Stark, 2011)

How do you think our government’s response to such groups has changed our attitudes towards our own freedoms?   Personally, it is hard for me to say.  On one hand, I can understand  the need for the government to clamp down on the activities of  hacktivists and especially those of cyber-terrorists.  In some cases,  the government has made itself susceptible to these attacks by not  taking all the necessary appropriate measures to secure their systems.   However, that is also not to excuse their ability to cover up their own  forms of cyber-terrorism that has caused harm against its own citizens.

In your opinion, do you think Hacktivism is justified or is  it just a subset of cyber-terrorism? Give some examples to support your  stance.  By definition, Hacktivism is a subset of  cyber-terrorism because they both involve the utilization of computers  in order to gain unauthorized access to a computer system/network and/or  to disrupt said system or network for social, political, or ideological  purposes.  Whether it is WikiLeaks gaining secret documents exposing a  countries government of invading the privacy of their citizens for the  argument of security or the case of Aaron Swartz, the creator of  SecureDrop. (10 Most…, n.d.).  Each instance involved an entity gaining  unauthorized access to a computer system or network through illegal  means.

Cyberterrorism. (n.d.). Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)

Dorothy E. Denning, “Activism, Hacktivism, and Cyberterrorism: The Internet as a Tool for Influencing Foreign Policy”, Global Problem Solving Information Technology and Tools, December 10, 1999,        cyberterrorism-the- (Links to an external site.)internet-as-a-tool-for-influencing-foreign-policy-2/

Hacktivism. (n.d.). Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)

Stanley, N. (2011, September 2). The Technology Behind Cyberterrorism  – Modern technologies, propaganda and improving the resilience of cyber  control systems. Retrieved from        

The 10 Most (Potentially) Inspiring Cases of Hacktivism. (n.d.).  Retrieved from        

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