Nerd Word of the Day: Hacktivism

hacktivismHacktivism: n. The practice of gaining unauthorized access to computer files or networks in order to propagate a social or political message.

I think the definition above, from the Oxford English Dictionary, doesn’t cover the whole gamut of hacktivisim.  I think it also includes setting up proxies to help people within a country access things denied by their government.

I’ve always felt that hackers are not always bad.. in fact, there are some hackers who actually hack for good! And these “hacktivists” came out in droves to assist those trying to get the word out from within Iran, during their recent election.

Even average Twitter users became “hacktivists” when they changed their home city to Tehran on their Twitter profiles to throw off the scent of the authorities.
Thanks originalistrick for the suggestion of this word.

Click here for more nerd words.

Comments/DISQUS help? Click here.

Allowed HTMLDISQUS Status

Leave a Reply

55 Responses to Nerd Word of the Day: Hacktivism

  1. linuxdude says:

    The term “hacker” originally meant someone that was good at designing hardware, or programming software, in new ways that was considered creative by their peers. Usually it had to have a conciseness to it, or do a lot with little.

    Later it took on a more negative meaning when it was applied by the popular press to people that “hacked” into networks or systems. A better term for those would have been “cracker”, similar to “safe cracker”, but alas the term “hacker” stuck.

    But even so, figuring out how to “hack” into a system isn’t just for “bad guys”, since it will inevitably be done by somebody it is necessary to know where the weaknesses are.

  2. pingpangwon says:

    Where did rebellion come from :?:

  3. Lennie says:

    Hacking usually just means, letting thinks do what they were never intended to do. Hacktivism is just hackers being activists.

  4. leonard says:

    :roll: [clover] :mrgreen: In the late 1970s and ’80s drug tests became very sensitive and could detect the tiniest traces of morphine. Clover has a small amount of morphine, which is eaten by cattle and can end up in bottled milk. Eating clover can set off blood and urine analysis drug tests :oops:

  5. bsomebody says:

    This is a great example of how we often describe “good” and “bad.” I agree with Lady M’s ideas, but I am sure that many others would label some of our good intentions as disruptions or ill-doers. Some will definitely describe us as evil… to conform or not to conform, that is the question :roll:

  6. ferrisb1 says:

    Hi, Marina.

    Interesting article as always :)

    Here is a word that might interest you and the viewers:


    Keep up the great work! :D

  7. evenhotterforwords says:

    a hacker is someone knowing a lot about internet/computer security.

    not always bad.

    it could be preventing racism on the internet or hacking someone back!

    i am trying to learn to hack.

    but hotforwords, why do you have 6 trackers on your website?
    it doesn’t really keep your visitors anonymous…

  8. I'm soo bored.. says:

    cookies ;) umm…that wasn’t a suggestion, but it sounds like it should be, so if you haven’t already done the word I’d like to know the meaning of [COOKIES!!!!]

    bai Marina, keep up the good work!!! <—–(yes i know i said "bai" instead of "bye") :D

  9. freebird says:

    [ordinary and extraordinary]

  10. 2utoday says:

    :mrgreen: The federal government has their own hackers who try to hack into government web sites so they can put a fix on sites that can be hacked. They call it preventative measures.

  11. eugensdiet says:

    [jazz] I know what it iz but where duz it come from?

  12. leonard says:

    Word request: [diplomacy] :grin: diploma-crat is a rat and a knat :razz:

  13. eugensdiet says:

    When I think of the time and money wasted because of hackers, I think capital punishment is to good for them.

  14. Capman911 says:

    Good one Rick. Congratz on the mention and the cool nerd word. ;-) It ranks up there with being Teacher’s Pet. :cool:

  15. Zephyr says:

    Good Nerd Word Originalistrick! Better get yourself sized for some thick-rimmed glasses and button-down shirts!! JK. You rock!

  16. originalistrick says:

    Thanks for noticing, Dearest Teach.


  17. Captain Jack says:

    “I’ve always felt that hackers are not always bad.. in fact, there are some hackers who actually hack for good!”

    Marina, Im so happy you said this! You’re very correct about this statement. There are thousands of hackers that do much good. Many of the alert sysadmins about security loop holes.
    Look at Steve Woz. He was a hacker. I could list thousands of hackers here. So yes, there are many good ethical hackers. White hat hackers they are sometimes called. In contrast there are black hat hackers. Interestingly enough that the term Cracker never caught on to describe a black hat hacker. We have to blame in on the ignorance of the reporters back in the day.

  18. Che Volay says:

    So I learn something new today, good, the day was not totally wasted. :smile:

  19. greatestpotential says:

    just saying the wetware share is there. the entire data glut contents of the library of congress can easily fit on a grain of salt with room to spare.

  20. greatestpotential says:

    we’re hardwired in so don’t f ;) ck with us

  21. greatestpotential says:

    some clever ad slogans on this movie poster…their crime is curiosity…

  22. wetsuit5 says:

    If you change it to Tehran who’s authorities are you messing with?

  23. leonard says:

    ooo; good nerd word :-) …hats off to Rick

These are facebook comments below.


Not your typical philologist! Putting the LOL in PhiLOLogy :-)