Our website uses cookies

Cookies enable us to provide the best experience possible and help us understand how visitors use our website. By browsing Infosecurity Magazine, you agree to our use of cookies.

Okay, I understand Learn more

Hacktivist Attacks Have Fallen 95% Since 2015

The number of publicly disclosed hacktivist attacks has dropped by 95% between 2015 and 2018 thanks to the relative decline of Anonymous, new stats from IBM X-Force have revealed.

The firm claimed that it recorded 35 incidents in 2015, but the number dropped to just five two years later and two by 2018, with none so far this year.

The number attributed to the Anonymous dropped from eight incidents in 2015 to only one tracked in 2018. This is significant as the hacktivist collective accounted for almost 45% of all attacks between 2015 and 2018.

Other groups tend to strike once or twice and then disappear, security analyst Camille Singleton explained in a blog post.

“Starting around 2010, Anonymous became one of the most prolific hacktivist groups in the world, reaching a peak of activity in early- to mid-2016, according to IBM X-Force data. Since then, attacks by Anonymous have declined significantly, possibly due to an attrition of key leadership, differences of opinion and a struggle to find an ideological focus,” she said.

“In addition to differences in viewpoint, several cyber actors have sought to masquerade as Anonymous actors over the past three years, using the moniker in an attempt to legitimize their actions or to tarnish the group’s name by connecting their activities to Anonymous.”

Another potential factor in the decline of hacktivist activity is law enforcement activity. Singleton claimed arrests and legal warnings may be acting as an effective deterrent.

“X-Force IRIS internal tracking of related arrests revealed that law enforcement agencies in the US, UK and Turkey have arrested at least 62 hacktivists since 2011,” she added.

“We suspect the actual number is greater than those publicly announced.”

Three of those arrested received sentences in 2018 and 2019 with jail time of three years or greater. One individual, Martin Gottesfeld, 34, of Somerville, was handed a 10-year sentence after DDoS-ing a Boston hospital in 2014.

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?