A new study from the Digital Forensics Association, called The Leaking Vault 2011, covers 3,765 publicly disclosed data breach incidents over the past six years.  The estimated cost of these data breaches totaled more than $156 Billion.  "Hacking" exposed the largest number of records, while "Drive/Media" exposures were the second leading cause.

The study also shows the breakdown of incidents among business, education, government and medical sectors.  It clearly shows that data breaches can happen to a wide variety of institutions, not just those that handle "classified" information.  State data breach laws and industry regulations like HIPAA have increased the spotlight on data security outside of traditional national security organizations.  In fact, medical data breaches were the fastest growing segment from 2005-2010.

Read the full report for conclusions and recommendations.