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Hacktivism is down 95% since 2015

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Photo: Towfiqu Photography via Getty Images

Hacktivism — when activist groups like Anonymous use cyber disruption for political means — declined 95% between 2015 and 2018, according to a report by IBM.

Details: There are a variety of reasons for the decline, like governments impersonating activists and increased arrests.

  • Anonymous is in decline. The Guy Fawkes-mask-wearing, decentralized affiliation of hackers and trolls behind attacks on Pay Pal, Stratfor and others was a leading organization platform for political attacks. Anonymous' efforts have decreased, and no one has filled in the void.
  • Governments, including Russia, are impersonating activists, and that's made it harder to know the "real" activists.
  • There have been a ton of arrests, reducing the feeling of invulnerability.

Yes, but: IBM notes that attacks are up in 2019 — not up to 2015 levels, but up from 2018 — spurred in part by the arrest of Julian Assange and a campaign against Saudi targets.

Go deeper: Wireless insiders charged in phone-access scam