An annual benchmark survey of data breaches across multiple industries, now in its sixth year, finds for the first time that malicious or criminal attacks are the most expensive cause of breaches and no longer are the least common type of breach.

Research firm Ponemon Institute conducted the "2010 U.S. Cost of a Data Breach," study, which examines the costs that 51 organizations in 15 industries incurred following a large breach. The size of studied breaches ranged form 4,200 records to 105,000. Security firm Symantec Corp. sponsored the study.

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