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 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 US 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.
"Attackers really do seem to be not so much concerned with finding software vulnerabilities as much as finding types of misconfigurations that let them in the door," Wade Baker, director of risk intelligence for Verizon Business, told CNET News on Tuesday.
For more on this story, read Report: Most data breaches tied to organized crime on CNET News.