The hacker group known as Anonymous and other "hacktivist" groups rose to a new prominence in cybercrime last year, CNNMoney reported.
Verizon Communications Inc.'s annual Data Breach Investigations Report found that hacktivist groups were responsible for 58 percent of all data stolen last year. Verizon compiled data breach information from its customers and from law enforcement agencies in five countries.
Hacktivists are groups that use computer networks as a form of protest. The group Anonymous earlier this year got thousands of people to temporarily block access to the websites of the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, the U.S. Copyright Office, the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, among others, in protest of a government shuttering of a popular content website, Megaupload.
Verizon began tracking hacktivist activity in 2004, and said that last year's collection of hacktivist breaches exceeded the total from all previous years combined.
In all, hacktivist groups stole more than 100 milliion records last year, almost twice the amount of data captured by financially motivated cybercriminals, despite the fact that only 2 percent of all attacks could be attributed to Anonymous and its peers.