The number of hacktivist attacks that resulted in quantifiable damage to the victim has declined by 95 percent since 2015, according to IBM.
Data collected by IBM’s X-Force threat intelligence unit between 2015 and 2019 shows that the number of hacktivist attacks dropped from 35 in 2015 to 24 in 2016 and only 5 in 2017. In 2018, only two incidents were recorded and no attacks have been observed by IBM so far in 2019.
It’s worth noting, however, that IBM’s data only includes attacks observed by reliable sources, only instances where someone took responsibility, and only if the attack resulted in quantifiable damage.
The decline in hacktivist operations has been attributed by IBM to two major factors: a drop in attacks launched by Anonymous, and successful law enforcement operations and convictions.
The movement gained traction in 2010, when Anonymous attacks targeted several high-profile organizations and made many news headlines. IBM said Anonymous reached its peak in 2016, when it started to decline “possibly due to an attrition of key leadership, differences of opinion and a struggle to find an ideological focus.”
Incidents that contributed to Anonymous’ fall include arguments between members during the 2016 presidential election in the US, and the emergence of fake groups that used Anonymous to legitimize their actions or damage the movement’s name.
X-Force data shows only eight Anonymous attacks in 2015 and 2016, and only one in 2018.
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