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Report: Second quarter ‘one of worst on record’ for online security

anonymous mugshotA new report issued today by Panda Security has found that the period between April and June of this year was “one of the worst on record” for online security.  Panda Security cites the high-profile hijinx carried out by hacktivist outfits Anonymous and LulzSec as sterling examples of the increasing dangers for businesses and organizations operating on the Internet — particularly those that store sensitive information in online databases.

One wouldn’t expect Panda Security, a company that’s in the security business, to see hacktivist groups in a favorable light. And its report doesn’t pull any punches in describing the activities of LulzSec and Anonmyous.

“[Members of Anonymous] claim that their activities are ’peaceful protests’, despite their actions are purposefully enacted to cause economic loss and completely illegal,” reads the report. “They say they represent everyone’s ‘best interest’ but are not brave enough to appear publicly, hiding instead behind their pseudonym.”

And the report holds LulzSec in even lower regard: ” In my opinion, if you took the most irresponsible and brainless members of Anonymous and put them all together, they would be considered the most refined gentlemen compared to LulzSec.”

Hacktivists traditionally claim that they’re exploits are in part motivated by a desire to expose shoddy security measures employed by companies that should know better. Whether hacking companies databases and posting their customers’ personal information is the best way to go about achieving that goal is up for debate.

Last month, both Anonymous and LulzSec put aside their supposed differences for a collaborative effort intended to promote government transparency. They called the venture “Operation: Anti-Security.”

Panda Security’s report isn’t all caught up in high-profile hacking. Malware continues to be a major threat with Panda Security reporting an average of 42 variants being created every minute throughout the quarter. The second quarter of 2011 also saw the first large-scale trojan attack directed towards Mac users. The attack was carried out by a program masquerading as a anti-virus program called MacDefender. Apple has since released a patch to prevent MacDefender from infecting its OS X operating system.