In 2011, hackers caused mayhem at banks, online gaming networks, universities and healthcare insurers, stealing the personal data of millions of customers. Sometimes the hacks were politically motivated. More often, cybercriminals were after data that could be used in phishing and identity scams or credit-card fraud.
Armed with viruses, Trojans and worms, hackers penetrated the defenses of Citigroup and brought down Sony's PlayStation Network. And while money remained the number one motive, ideology drove extremists to raise havoc with San Francisco's subway system.
The Ponemon Institute calculates the average time for a corporation to restore its reputation following a headline-grabbing security breach is one year, with the loss to the value of its brand ranging from $184 million to $330 million. So lockdown those computers and keep a close eye on network traffic, as hackers are unlikely to be less determined in 2012.