A recent study conducted by Bit9 showed that one of the IT security professional’s biggest fears is none other than Anonymous.

Surveying just over 1,800 IT security professionals worldwide, the study stumbled across a contradiction or two in what is considered more threatening.

61% believe that their organizations could suffer an attack by Anonymous, or other hacktivist groups.

Despite the utter sense of fear that Anonymous has created over the years, 62% were more worried about the actual method of attack, with malware accounting for the most cause for concern at 48%.

Only 11% of the respondents were concerned about one of Anonymous’ actual methods of attack –  DDoS, while fears over SQL injections dipped to a measly 4%. Phishing was a concern for 17% of the respondents.

Anonymous leads the fear-factor, followed by cyber criminals, a cause for concern among 55% of respondents, nation states (with the finger pointed firmly at China and Russia) accounting for 48%, and disgruntled employees bringing up the rear with 28%.

It would also seem that the majority of IT professionals have little faith in the employees in their company, with only 26% saying that the security on laptops and desktops is effective – and that these “endpoints” are the most at risk.

An overwhelming 95% said that the public should be informed of any cyber security breaches, with 48% adding that companies should provide details on what, if anything, was stolen, and 29% felt the details of how the attack was carried out should be included as well. It’s a relief to know that only 6% of the respondents felt that the company should keep quiet.

Speaking about the survey results, Bit9’s CTO, Harry Sverdlove said:

“The survey results put a spotlight on an interesting contradiction: on the surface, people are most afraid of embarrassing, highly publicized attacks from hacktivist organizations like Anonymous, but they recognize that the more serious threats come from criminal organizations and nation states”

More than half of the respondents believe that their organization will be the target of a cyber attack in the next six months.

The details of the survey have also been filled into an awesomely-retro infographic:

bit9edit compressed highres 520x1738 Survey: What is the IT security professionals biggest fear? An Anonymous attack.