Social media is making hacktivism easier, especially as politically motivated online crowds come together to create distributed denial of service attacks, finds a new paper by security researcher Gunter Ollmann of Damballa.
Some political activists now go so far as to voluntarily install botnet agents in order to overwhelm adversary website or email accounts, Ollmann writes.

"Given how easy it is to develop new tools that plug in to social network communication channels to send and receive control data, and the general availability of source code and instructions for launching DDoS attacks, it is a foregone conclusion that new cyber-protesting tools integrate within social network groups and make it substantially easier to participate," he adds.

Whereas prosecuting cybercriminals who surreptitiously install botnet software onto user computers has been a successful tactic in the past, that same response "unlikely to be forthcoming in the context of opt-in botnets and cyber-protests," Ollmann notes.

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