Hacktivism is defined as the act of breaking into a computer system to promote a political or social agenda. This behavior can be used to punish a business for what the hacker sees as unethical behavior or can be used to garner attention to the hacker's "cause" and spread a message to the widest possible audience. Unfortunately, this type of behavior has become quite commonplace in today's culture. In October 2015, a teenager hacked the AOL account of the director of the CIA to call attention to violence in Palestine; in early November 2015, ISIS hacked approximately 54,000 Twitter accounts to post personal information of the heads of the CIA and FBI; in December 2015 the website of an international architecture firm was hacked by an Islamic group called Green Hat, which posted a 14–minute video touting Islam and Sharia law, and questioning other religious faiths.
These and other cyber hacks have prompted more discussion of the fine line between political activism and cyber-terrorism. Whether characterized as political or criminal, most observers agree the frequency and scope of hacktivism is likely to increase. In this environment, businesses would be well-advised to reexamine the security of their websites and social media accounts. In addition, every company should have a plan in place for immediately addressing the negative attention it undoubtedly will receive in the unfortunate event it becomes a hacktivism victim.