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Hacktivism accounted for majority of data theft in 2011: report

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(Read caption) A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, symbolic of the hacktivist group Anonymous, takes part in a protest in central Brussels in January.

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Incidents of "hacktivism" – hacking undertaken for political purposes – accounted for an unprecedented 58 percent of all data theft in 2011, according to the new Data Breach Investigations report from Verizon. The report surveyed 855 data breaches, where a combined 174 million digital records were purloined.

Those breaches were reported both by government websites and corporate entities; hacker collectives LulzSec and Anonymous led the charge. 

"Hacktivism has been around for some time but it's mainly been website defacements. In 2011 it was more about going to steal a bunch of information from a company," Wade Baker, director of research and intelligence at Verizon, told the BBC. "Data theft became a mechanism for political protest," Baker added.

In the report, Verizon, pointing to the "Arab Spring" protests, called 2011 "a year of civil and cultural uprising."


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