New Wave of Hacktivism adds Twist to Cybersecurity Woes


At a time when U.S. agencies and thousands of companies are fighting off major hacking campaigns originating in Russia and China, a different kind of cyber threat is reemerging activist hackers looking to make a political point.

Three major hacks show the power of this new wave of hacktivism the exposure of AIdriven video surveillance being conducted by the startup Verkada, a collection of Jan. 6 riot videos from the rightwing social network Parler, and disclosure of the Myanmar military juntas hightech surveillance apparatus.

And the U.S. governments response shows that officials regard the return of hacktivism with alarm. An indictment last week accused 21yearold Tillie Kottmann, a Swiss hacker who took credit for the Verkada breach, of a broad conspiracy.

Wrapping oneself in an allegedly altruistic motive does not remove the criminal stench from such intrusion, theft and fraud, Seattlebased Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman said.

According to a U.S. counterintelligence strategy released a year ago, ideologically motivated entities such as hacktivists, leaktivists, and public disclosure organizations, are now viewed as significant threats, alongside five countries, three terrorist groups, and transnational criminal organizations.

Earlier waves of hacktivism, notably by the amorphous collective known as Anonymous in the early 2010s, largely faded away under law enforcement pressure. But now a new generation of youthful hackers, many angry about how the…

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