Hacktivism - sounds like a bad headcold, but it's actually more like a headache for your computer.
It's the new frontier in direct action protests and it can go wrong, Associate Professor in Government at the University of Canberra Robin Tennant-Wood says.
When the website of the ACT government department Justice and Community Safety Directorate was hacked earlier this month, it was a case of apparent mistaken identity.
Hacktivism gone wrong.
The international hacker group Anonymous appeared to have misfired, in attempting to strike a bigger target.
Visitors to the JACS website, instead of getting information about how to avoid scams, were being greeted with a picture of a faceless man, an image that has become synonymous with the global hacking organisation.
It appeared JACS was not the target of the cyber attack, with many posts referencing the ''Australian Justice Department''.
A number of tweets by members of Anonymous were directed towards the federal government, despite featuring the ACT government link.
''It's a cute new term, hactivism - and it brings up all these questions of privacy and copyright,'' Tennant-Wood says.
''And we all know that on-line forums and websites are only as secure as their weakest link.
''I remember as soon as I was given email for the first time I was told 'don't put anything in an email that you don't want splashed across the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald tomorrow', and that is some of the best advice I have ever been given.''
But hackers aren't the only ones bearing the brunt of society's annoyance.
Last year people from Greenpeace destroyed a field of GM wheat being grown by CSIRO.
And the actions of protesters who executed a raid on a battery hen egg farm in Canberra's north last week are being roundly condemned.
Activists forced entry into the Parkwood Egg Farm, owned by Pace Farm, in Macgregor, between 11pm Monday, March 12 and 6am Tuesday, March 13.
They slashed conveyor belts, destroyed grading and packaging machinery, and damaged office equipment and forklifts.
Battery acid and power tools were allegedly used to destroy equipment.
Australian Egg Corporation Ltd, which represents the interests of egg producers, lashed out at the activists.
It called them ''home grown extremists'' and accused them of putting at at risk the welfare of the 30,000 hens housed there.
The ACT Greens also condemned the attack. Speaker Shane Rattenbury said the party was strongly opposed to the alleged damage of property at the site.
''Unlike the Leader of the Opposition, I like to have some knowledge about what I comment on publicly,'' Rattenbury said.
''Having now found out the details of this incident, I too condemn this activity,'' he said.
Greenpeace spokeswoman Julie Macken said using battery acid was a very bad sign. ''It could have hurt somebody,'' she said.
''Greenpeace has a very clear non-negotiable policy of non-violent direct action.''
However, direct action protests had their place in Australia and people should not be so quick to dismiss such things as ''stunts''.
''Historically Australia has a long history and tradition of activism from the Eureka Stockade onwards,'' Macken says.
''A lot of the things we take for granted, like the 40 hour week, four weeks holidays and occupational health and safety - the things we regard as the cornerstones of our quality of life - none of those have been volunteered by the bosses.
''They have all been fought for by activists and sometimes by direct action.
''My background is in the women's movement and in the late 70s and 80s it was still acceptable for men to rape their wives and belt their missus if she did not deliver.
''Domestic violence and violence against children was part of the unique horror of the nuclear family and now we have laws against that.''
Macken says plenty of direct action protests were really the last resort in a long chain of events.
''Nobody starts their engagement with public policy by chaining themselves to a gate,'' she said.
''It's the end of the process of having used all the tools at their disposal - putting in submission to government, writing letters to the editor, going through the whole range of things than can be done.
''And they have to seriously consider what action to take. If you look at Greenpeace and you look at nuclear testing in the Pacific, it's a crime to destroy entire communities in future generations.And no one was acting for the Pacific Islands.''
Ms Tennant-Wood says direct action protests rarely solve anything in isolation.
''Particularly in the environment area there is a long history of activism but it has very seldom achieved the end it has intended to.
''But when it does achieve its end is when it raises the profile of the issue and then amasses support and then government makes a change.
''The only exception I can think of to that is the Sea Shepherd where they have claimed success in that the Japanese whaling fleet have killed only a very small number of whales during the recent hunt.
''So if you take that on its face, that is a significant achievement for direct action.''
However, for direct action to stir up the right sort of response, it needs to be well planned, Tennant-Wood cautions.
''If it really puts lives in danger or harms property, not only does it not achieve its end but it starts to stray into vandalism and it can be dismissed as a stunt and bring negative attention,'' she says.
''And when you look at the online activism it's a whole new area. You have to wonder if these are real activists or if they are just smart guys with computers saying 'we can bring down a government website'.
''Are they really protesting? They need to be clear about that.''
The viral phenomenon of the catch Kony campaign, centred around Ugandan rebel Joseph Kony, has left many unclear about what should be done.
''At first it had a whiff of a hoax about it,'' Tennant-Wood says.
''Now we know it's definitely not a hoax, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of African voices in it and that makes me a bit suspicious about it,'' she says.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.