According to Verizon's latest Data Breach Investigations Report [PDF file], 855 data breaches caused 174 million stolen records last year, the second highest volume of data stolen since 2004.

"While more than 80 percent of the data breaches in 2011 were due to organized criminal activity, the number of records pilfered from activist groups represented 58 percent of the total, the report finds," writes CNET News' Elinor Mills.

"In particular, hacktivists targeted corporations and big agencies, and consumer data," Mills writes. "Activist groups accounted for more than 22 percent of the data breaches targeting large organizations. Meanwhile, 95 percent of the records compromised last year included personal information about individuals, compared with only 1 percent the year before, Verizon said."

For more on this story, read Hacktivists Surpass Organized Crime in Volume of Data Theft.

For regular security news updates, follow eSecurityPlanet on Twitter: @eSecurityP.