Dealing with politically and ideologically-motivated hackers is set to be one of the key trends in the cyber security industry next year, as criminals have seen how effective these attacks can be.
This was one of the key findings of Experian Data Breach Resolution's third annual Data Breach Industry Forecast, which noted that there is set to be a resurgence in attacks that are not motivated by financial gain, but by a desire to inflict reputational damage on companies or obtain information that can be used for blackmail or extortion.
Businesses will need to be aware of this threat, as it will require a different response plan from an event where monetary gain or network disruption is the goal. As has already been seen in attacks such as the Ashley Madison hack, the potential for consumers to be compromised by this type of incident can be very high, so there will need to be a clear strategy in place for dealing with these scenarios.
Michael Bruemmer, vice-president at Experian Data Breach Resolution, said consumers are often left stuck in the middle of these attacks.
"By association with the attacked organisation, they also can suffer personal harm or embarrassment if their information is exposed," he said. "If an organisation has a polarising or controversial mission, it should consider this scenario and how it will take care of its constituency should a breach occur."
Elsewhere, both businesses and consumers can expect to be caught up in 'cyberconflicts' between nation states, as Experian predicted that incidents aimed at stealing government or corporate secrets will become more commonplace.
Such attacks are likely to cause collateral damage in the form of exposing information of millions of individuals, or stolen business IP addresses. Experian also suggested there may be an increase in large public-sector data breaches, such as this year's US Office of Personnel Management attack, which can also expose millions of personal records.
"One of the major mistakes companies often make is taking a one-size-fits-all approach," Mr Bruemmer said. "Unfortunately, the reality is that no data breach is the same, and a wide variety of unique circumstances need to be considered in a data breach response plan."