Where are all the hacktivists? – BCS

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The social networking boom empowered everyone to have a voice via the internet and allowed activists to conduct globally organised smart mobs, petitions, blogs, emails, social media campaigns, virtual sit-ins and, of course, to share information anonymously to authorities, media and social justice groups like investigative journalists.

Some argue that although digital activism achieves awareness building and mobilisation of people, the overall goal may not be the case in many instances, which is perhaps the reason for hacktivism to surface from time to time.

COP26 is at the forefront of global concern. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) documents leaked to the BBC through Greenpeace UKs team of investigative journalists revealed some nations lobbying to change UN recommendations for action.

Open sources report that protests are expected to be heightened on 6 November, the Global Day for Climate Justice, as thousands of protestors are expected to arrive from across the world. Some predict that hacktivists could target government organisations, local businesses and rail networks during the conference.

Alex Dowall, Detective Superintendent for Cyber Investigations at Police Scotland, said: We know criminals will exploit any opportunity for their own gain and COP26 will be no different.

Ideological-based attacks have been too random to be able to predict with great certainty. Some of the worlds most resourced security programs with excellent risk profiles proved that security threats cannot be solved, prevented or removed through technological or engineering approaches. These are testing times for those in security professions.

By the time this insight is published, the world will know if the hacktivists made a comeback motivated by climate change. However, does the occasion always have to be as important? There are intense issues other than environmental ones

It is well known that suppression is counterproductive. This tightly interlinked world requires cooperation and a commitment to peaceful coexistence across species, cultures and generations. Governments and global communities should recast hacktivists as a geo-socially networked community of sensors, who can be creatively engaged with policy makers in solving emerging global threats.

Dr Deepthi Ratnayake FHEA CITP MBCS is an experienced lecturer with proven skills in cybersecurity research. LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/deepthiratnayake

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Where are all the hacktivists? - BCS

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