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Report: Most data breaches tied to organized crime

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Report: Most data breaches tied to organized crime by Elinor Mills

Organized criminals were responsible for 85 percent of all stolen data last year and of the unauthorized access incidents, 38 percent of the data breaches took advantage of stolen login credentials, according to the 2010 Verizon Data Breach Investigations report to be released on Wednesday.

While external agents were behind 70 percent of the breaches, nearly 50 percent were caused by insiders and only 11 percent were attributed to business partners, concluded the report, which focused on data breaches that took place in 2009.

The study combined data from investigations and statistics worldwide compiled by Verizon and the U.S. Secret Service in which 141 cases were analyzed involving more than 143 million compromised data records, compared with the more than 360 million records compromised in 2008.

Most of the externally originated breaches came from Eastern Europe, North America, and East Asia, the data shows.

Nearly 50 percent of breaches involved misuse of user privileges, while 40 percent resulted from hacking, 38 percent used malware, 28 percent used social engineering tactics, and about 15 percent were physical attacks.

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