Verizon report: Most 2011 cyberattacks “were avoidable”

In its long-awaited data breach report released on Thursday, Verizon said that a small number of data breaches in 2011 were a result of the activities of hacktivists, and that most of the cyberattacks during the year could have been avoided had the companies not overlooked basic security-related precautions.

Based on an assessment of over 850 data breaches, Verizon's 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report was compiled with assistance from the US Secret Service as well as law enforcement agencies in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and The Netherlands.

The report revealed that, even though there has been a lot of concern of late over the increasing complexity of the cyberattacks, approximately 97 of the data breaches last year had the hackers using fairly simple techniques rather than any sophisticated mechanism.

Revealing that most of the hacks were more of a mundane reality for the hackers, the report highlighted that the majority of data breaches were carried out by hackers who neither had any special skills nor resources. Further adding that most hacks did not require the hackers to do much customization work, Verizon said that the hacks were apparently "not highly difficult" for the hackers.

The report also pointed out that nearly 80 percent of the hacks in 2011 resulted from the hackers targeting of the victims of opportunity instead of the companies they sought out; and added that 97 percent of the hacks "were avoidable, without the need for organizations to resort to difficult or expensive countermeasures."