"Hacktivist", a portmanteau of "hack" and "activism", was a term coined in 1996 by Omega, a member of the hacking coalition "Cult of the Dead Crow" (cDc). The term can be loosely defined as, "the ethically ambiguous use of computers and computer networks in order to affect the normal operation of other systems, motivated by a desire to protest or promote political ends."Oftentimes these events take the form of website defacements, denial-of-service attacks, information theft, website parodies, virtual sit-ins, typo squatting, and virtual sabotage.

The term has become popular among media outlets in recent years due to the rise of various politically motivated cyber attacks by groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec (now LulzSec Reborn) on governments and corporations across the world.

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