A Verizon study shows that activist hacking groups like Anonymous stole over 100 million records in 2011, accounting for 58 percent of total stolen data. The Verizon 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report found 855 data breaches totaling 174 million stolen records. Although activist groups claim to have other motives, Verizon states that most members are "professional criminals deliberately trying to steal information they can turn into cash."

In its report, Verizon declares 2011 "the year of the Hacktivist," but goes on to note that "it wasn't all protest and lulz." Statistics indicate that mainline cybercriminals are just as active as ever, and continue to orchestrate high-volume, low-risk attacks. Perhaps the most troubling statistics in the report find that 96 percent of all attacks didn't require any advanced skills, and 97 percent of attacks were easily avoidable. The report details a number of simple changes companies should make to avoid further breaches. Honestly, it's extraordinary that some organizations aren't up speed on network security, and need to be told train their staff to:

  • Change administrative passwords on all POS systems
  • Implement a firewall or access control list on remote access/administration services
  • Avoid using POS systems to browse the web (or anything else on the Internet for that matter)
  • But that, unfortunately, is the case.