Until last year, lost and stolen laptops were to blame for the largest percentage of breach types. Now, hacking has claimed the top spot.
Computer intrusion was responsible for 83 percent of the total reported exposed records in 2011 and a third of the total breaches, according to the year-end "Data Breach Intelligence" report from Risk Based Security, affiliated with the Open Security Foundation, which chronicles security incidents.
Last year saw nearly 368 million records breached, the highest ever, and the all-time tally sits at 1.3 billion, according to the report, released last week. The previous high was 191 million records in 2009.
2011 was aided by a number of massive breaches, namely the Sony PlayStation Network hack, which compromised some 77 million records. Valve, owner of online video game distribution network Steam, saw 35 million credit card numbers exposed. Another massive incident involved Tianya, China's largest online forum, when data on 40 million users was leaked.
Meanwhile, also last week, Javelin Strategy & Research revealed that identity fraud rose 13 percent in 2011, when 11.6 million U.S. adults became victims. However, out-of-pocket costs diminished by a whopping 44 percent thanks to enhanced prevention and detection tools, and fraud alerts.
Javelin attributed the fraud rise to breaches and increased reliance on social media and mobile devices.