Online hacking: a brief glossary

With the Rise of Hacking group LulzSec and the prominence of other online hacktivists such as Anonymous, a glossary of terms was in order to help understand future news articles reporting online hacking activities.

Hacking groups

Anonymous – Their name was adopted from an internet meme that originated on the 4Chan image board circa 2003. Anonymous developed into a leaderless organisation of hackers who want to promote freedom of speech as well as internet freedom.

LulzSec – Founded in May 2011 by six core members, LulzSec is responsible for many of the recent hacking stories you may have read in the media. Their modus operandi includes attacking high profile targets such as US government agencies (CIA), as well as corporations whom the group feels has wronged internet freedom in some way, such as Sony.

Anti Sec – A combined effort between LulzSec and Anonymous, Operation Anti-Security encourages supporters to, “hack into, steal and publish classified government information.” Leaving the term “AnitSec” as evidence of their intrusion is also encouraged.

While other online hacking groups do exist, the above mentioned have gained international fame through their high profile attacks and run-ins with the law.


DDoS – A technique where hackers make use of many computers all accessing a website multiples times a second, thus overloading the sites bandwidth capacity and eventually leading to site downtime.

Low Orbit Ion Canon – An application designed to stress test network resources. A JavaScript version allows hackers to launch a denial of service (DoS) attack on websites. If multiple users make use of the LOIC software, a DDoS attack is possible, making the attack harder to block.

Botnet – A botnet refers to a collection of computers infected with malicious software that grant access to the infected computer. Botnet’s often make use of software such as LOIC to launch DDoS attacks with relative anonymity thanks to the distributed system.

SQL Injection – a technique used by hackers to exploit security vulnerabilities in databases. This can result in the hacker obtaining the information collected in the database.

PasteBin – an online web application that is often used by groups such as Anonymous and Lulzsec to paste information that they have obtained through their hacking activities for public viewing.

Tor – A system intended to enable online anonymity. The client software routes internet traffic though a network of servers that have been volunteered in an attempt to conceal a user’s identity. This makes tracing a user’s internet activity very difficult.

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Online hacking: a brief glossary