Hacktivism is the use of computers and computer networks as a means of protest to promote political ends.
As more and more companies put more of their operations online, the Internet becomes an increasingly attractive place to conduct a protest. For example, taking down important websites and denying access to legitimate business use of those sites gets a lot more attention.
A hacktivist uses the same tools and techniques as a hacker, but does so in order to disrupt services and bring attention to a political or social cause. For example, one might leave a highly visible message on the home page of a web site that gets a lot of traffic or which embodies a point-of-view that is being opposed. Or one might launch a denial-of-service attack to disrupt traffic to a particular site.
As always, companies need to make sure they’re taking all the necessary steps to protect themselves against attacks. If you want to safeguard your IT system, you need to protect each component on your network, including PCs, routers, switches and all other connected users' devices. Why? Because anyone who can access your network can also disrupt you network components and services.