NEW YORK, April 22 (UPI) -- China was the main source of cyber-espionage attacks in 2012, with Chinese IP addresses accounting for 30 percent of data breaches worldwide, a report says.
Ninety-six percent of those attacks were made for online espionage purposes, the 2013 Data Breach Investigation Report prepared by Verizon said.
China was the only Asian country on the top 10 threat origins list, the report released Monday said.
Romania came in second at 28 percent of the 2012 data breaches and the United States was third with 18 percent, the report added.
The vast majority of attacks from China were linked to cyber-espionage-related motivations, in contrast to the other countries on the list whose data breaches were mostly financially motivated, it said.
"This may mean that other threat groups perform their activities with greater stealth and subterfuge, but it could also mean that China is, in fact, the most active source of national and industrial espionage in the world today," the report said.
However, a Verizon official said, the high number of data breaches attributed to China doesn't necessarily mean it is the most active perpetrator of cyber-espionage activities.
The number could be because Internet regulation in China is not as strict as other countries, attracting criminals to use it as a base of hacking activities, Patrick Lum, senior consultant at Verizon Business, told ZDNet Asia.
"We are not going with the 'China is bad and scary' message. Rather, it's certainly big and an important part of the entire picture, and it is definitely an up and coming [trend] in the security landscape," Lum said.