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Hack Attack

. . . and other threats from the politically offended

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This story appears in the October 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When Madonna's web site was hit by activists angry about music piracy laws, the singer struck back with a technological salvo. The result was publicity for the singer's latest album and more fuel for the fiery debate over Internet file-sharing.

Political activism aimed at businesses usually takes the form of harmless, if inconvenient, lampoons meant to highlight a company's record on labor rights or the environment. In some cases, sabotage takes a more vicious tone. Whether it's a torched SUV sitting in a parking lot or animals freed from a biotechnology lab, businesses face increasingly emboldened activism. While behemoths such as McDonald's or Wal-Mart are the usual targets, even small businesses can be potential victims--and the Web is often the weapon of choice.

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