SA shows support for hacktivism - survey

Malware is on the rise. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Malware is on the rise. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town – South Africans agree with a global poll that found support for hacktivist groups, according to a worldwide survey.

A survey by the Centre for International Governance Innovation, conducted by Ipsos found that 52% of people believe hacktivist groups like Anonymous should step in to help hold public figures accountable.

However, the poll of 24 143 people also found that where such groups break the law, 66% believe that they should be stopped.

In addition to SA, the Cigi survey was conducted in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, the UK, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and the US.

“Internet users around the world are conflicted on the role of hacktivist groups like Anonymous," said Eric Jardine, Cigi research fellow and cyber security expert.

"You could almost say that people tend to disapprove of their tactics, but approve of what they often do with those means."

Website, Twitter attacks

READ: SA 'most worried' about account hacking

Cigi suggested that the perception of hacktivist groups was positive as it related to the targeting of public institutions rather than individuals for financial gain.

“They [internet users] seem to be apprehensive of their lack of recognisable organisational structure, and experience trepidation about their operation from the shadows of the internet,” said Jardine.

“At the same time, internet users also deem the outcome of hacktivist operations in a more benign light, especially when they are holding institutionally powerful people to account.”

Members of hacktivist group Anonymous have been linked to the hack of the African National Congress (ANC) website as well as attacks against Israel and terror group Islamic State (Daesh).

Since whistle-blower Edward Snowden lifted the lid on wide-scale government eavesdropping, more people have been concerned about personal data privacy.

“In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, there exists a desire within populations around the world to trust new actors in holding governments to account and creating new outlets to influence the shape of governance,” said Fen Hampson, director of Cigi’s Global Security and Politics Programme and co-director of the Global Commission on Internet Governance.

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