Risky Shift Toward Online Activism: Do Hacktivists Pose an Increased Threat to the Homeland? [open pdf - 1MB]
From the thesis abstract: "This research uses a grounded theory approach to study the phenomenon of hacktivism and seeks to understand how the Internet has evolved to become a disproportionate and significant platform for disruption. Technological advancements involving the Internet, such as social media, have provided a significant advantage for social activists to advance their causes and enables them to recruit large masses with little effort. This platform also provides the distinct advantage of anonymity and increased availability of malicious tools and malware that, if directed toward U.S. critical infrastructure, could potentially cause severe economic and physical harm to the homeland. This research will also provide readers an in-depth analysis of three well-known social movements that have revealed the potential for increasing violence and/or disruption. The civil rights movements of the 1960s and the environmentalist movements of the 1980s are examples of activist movements that quickly evolved into direct action networks. Such historical context, when compared to current hacktivist collectives like Anonymous, suggests that social activist movements, regardless of venue, possess the cognitive praxis to cause injury or harm in furtherance of a social cause."
Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library: http://www.nps.edu/Library/index.aspx