State-sponsored industrial espionage became a bigger cyber-threat to companies in 2012, a report indicates.
Statistics gathered for Verizon's annual data breach report suggested state-sponsored hacking attacks were now the number two cyber-threat.
Top of the list were hackers looking to steal money after breaking into corporate networks,
Often, the report said, companies took months to spot a breach and discover what data had been stolen.
The study was published to coincide with Infosec – an annual security conference in London.
While hackers had financial motives in 75% of the cyber-attacks analysed for the report, in 20% of cases the perpetrators were after trade secrets or intellectual property, it stated.
“The number one statistical change we noticed is the level of state-sponsored espionage,” said security analyst Wade Baker, lead author on the report. “That's a lot higher.”
He added that 2012 was the first year that there were so many espionage-motivated attacks that they deserved their own category.