A hacktivist is "a computer hacker whose activity is aimed at promoting a social or political cause," much like a traditional activist. The term isn't new. (The Oxford English Dictionary dates it to at least 1995.) But a group of hacktivists called Anonymous stole headlines all year, to great approval and simultaneously great criticism. Anonymous released IP addresses of alleged pedophiles and forced child-pornography sites offline. It launched a website called Anonymous Analytics, dedicated to exposing "corrupt companies." It attacked websites like PayPal in a protest to show support for WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange. It even set its electronic crosshairs on NATO after targeting Sony and the Church of Scientology. In short, the Anonymous hacktivists have been very busy little bees in the bonnets of many, many people.
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