Most data stolen by rebels with a cause -

Most data is being stolen by people who are hacking servers as a form of activism, according to a new study of security incidents.

Verizon said it has uncovered a huge rise in politically motivated attacks and that 58 percent of all the data stolen during breaches in 2011 was by these groups.

While cyber criminals were difficult enough to deal with, hacktivists are much trickier because their strategies have been harder to predict.

Wade Baker, director of research and intelligence at Verizon, said that hacktivism used to limit itself to website defacements. But last year it was more about going to steal a bunch of information from a company.

Verizon classifies Anonymous and Lulzsec as hacktivist groups and said that they scored a significant number of successes by knocking out websites and stealing large amounts of data from private companies and government agencies.

Baker told the BBC that data theft became a mechanism for political protest and they used tactics and techniques crafted for each occasion. When hacktivists got in, they took huge amounts of data.