A recent study made by a major Internet service provider today revealed that operations by hacktivists, or politically motivated cyber world elements, far outnumbered those attributed to cybercriminals involving significant security incidents in 2011.
Internet service leader Verizon, in its annual data report for the past year, said 58% of all the data stolen in major security breaches in 2011 were due to politically motivated cyber activists.
The Verizon report said some 855 major data theft incidents occurred last year with 174 million records stolen.
Verizon research and intelligence director Wade Baker was reported by BBC as saying that politically motivated cyber-attacks were found to be more difficult to counter, citing the general unpredictability of hacktivist operations, compared to intrusions made by cybercriminals whose main aim is to steal money through the Web.
The hacktivist attacks spearheaded by activist hacker group Anonymous, as well as by AntiSec and LulzSec, involved separate incidents of political protests conducted through the Internet.
These groups were responsible for knocking down websites in 2011, and stealing huge amounts of data from private companies and government agencies.
On the other hand, cybercriminals, the run-of-the-mill thieves and scam artists, received blame for about 35% of the data stolen in 2011. Criminal syndicates were the perpetrators of most of the 2011 attacks, which had resulted in the loss of valuable business data either sold by the syndicates or used for other criminal purposes.