Vandals account for a quarter of web hacks

A quarter of website attacks are intended to vandalise a site rather than for financial gain, says the Web Application Security Consortium. The report found the majority of defacements were of a political nature, targeting political parties, candidates and government departments.

Its annual report states stealing money is not the overriding motivation for hackers, although it has been a rising trend in recent years.

"While financial gain is certainly a big driver for web hacking, ideological hacking cannot be ignored," the report, which was sponsored by vendor Breach Security, said.

The report studies hack attacks under strict criteria, looking only at incidents which were publicly reported were associated with web application security problems and had an identifiable impact on an organisation.

The researchers said the criteria allows people to understand the potential business impacts, as opposed to technical failure.

Whilst vandalism may carry a lower risk than financial attack, it still highlights insecure web pages.

Government, law enforcement and political websites were the most targeted categories found in the study and the second most popular motivation was stealing sensitive information. This occurred in 19 percent of the 57 hacks.

Third in the list of reasons for hacking was planting malware, at 16 percent, and causing monetary loss, at 13 percent.

Others were intended to cause downtime for a website, planted worms and linked spam and information warfare.

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