855 data breach incidents were outlined in Verizon's latest annual Data Breach Investigations Report.
Only 3 percent were attributed to so-called hacktivists, which is a sharp increase from previous years, but still somewhat minor in the overall picture. However, those 3 percent of hacks captured 56 percent of all user data involved. Verizon claims that hacktivists stole about 100 million user data of a total of 174 million.
Of course, it's a matter of the viewing angle to assess the seriousness of the impact of hacktivists. While there is a 3 percent share of all data breaches overall, the number rises to 25 percent if only incidents at large corporations are considered. It is also worth noting that the Verizon data does not cover any additional damage that has been inflicted to corporations due to takedowns such as denial of service attacks. The true dollar damage being caused may be substantially higher than the numbers mentioned in Verizon's report indicate.
However, Verizon noted that the hacktivists attacks apparently revealed fewer skilled attacks than the company saw originating from financially motivated hackers. Money-focused hackers are much more likely to attack small firms and franchises. Hacktivists seem to be targeting larger targets with more data sets and are using rarely seen methods including DNS tunneling. Also, in about three out of four cases, the targets of hacktivists warned their targets before an attack occurred.