2011 Was A Big Year For Hacktivists
March 22, 2012

2011 Was A Big Year For Hacktivists

Verizon unveiled on Thursday that hacktivist groups like Anonymous stole about 100 million Internet user's data in 2011.

Verizon said in its annual Data Breach Investigations Report on Thursday that of the 177 million records stolen by hackers in 2011, 100 million were taken by a hacktivist group.

According to the report, half of the 177 million records stolen were specifically from the Anonymous hacktivist group.

Verizon said that 2011 was the second-highest year of data loss that it has recorded since it started the investigation in 2004.

The report found that malware also grew in usage, appearing in 69 percent of breaches, compared to 49 percent in 2010.

The company said that breaches originated from 36 countries last year, which is up from 22 countries in 2010.  However, Chris Porter, principal on the Risk team at Verizon, said this could be due to having a larger global team of investigators on this report than in past reports.

Although 2011 seems as though it could be considered the year of the hacker, 2012 could be a slower year as government agencies have started to crack down on the cybercrime.

Dozens of Anonymous' most active members have been arrested in 2012, and one of its leaders and organizations has been revealed as a government informant.

The International police group Interpol arrested 25 alleged members of Anonymous in February across Europe and Latin America.

Interpol said it seized 250 items of computer equipment and mobile phones, credit cards and cash at 40 premises in 15 cities.  The international police group said in an announcement after the arrests that the suspects ranged in age from 17 to 40.

Police in Spain also arrested four other suspected supporters of Anonymous who were accused of taking websites offline and leaking sensitive data.

However, despite the many arrests lately, it does not take away from the fact that hackers had a big year in 2011.

Over 112,000 credit cards were compromised from 163 franchise locations in 2011, according to the Verizon report.  It also said at least 800 other retail computer systems in various hotels, movie theaters, medical facilities, cafes and pizzerias were comprised by hacking groups.