Verizon this week announced that it will join forces with the U.S. Secret Service on a Data Breach Investigations Report to give organizations a better idea of how and why cybercriminals are infiltrating their personal data and what they can do to better protect themselves.

The 2010 DBIR will include aggregated findings from Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) own caseload, as well as hundreds of complex computer crime cases investigated by the Secret Service in the past year.

By facilitating the exchange of research and investigation data between government agencies and the private sector, Verizon and the Secret Service are hoping to uncover both similarities and differences in the way the two organizations discover and combat identity theft, garden-variety hacking, targeted malware and phishing attacks.


"Verizon is significantly broadening the scope of the 2010 DBIR to gain new insight into how data breaches occur, especially in the consumer sector," Peter Tippett, Verizon Business's vice president of technology and innovation, said in a statement. "With a greatly expanded dataset, this year's report will give a more accurate picture of data breaches around the globe while delving into new areas in an effort to better arm organizations worldwide in the fight against cybercrime."

Last year, Verizon's Data Breach Investigations Report found that data stolen from servers accounted for 94 percent of all records lost in data breaches investigated by the company last year.

To combat this alarming and costly increase in data losses, Verizon launched its Application Security Program to help itself and its customers better prioritize their security efforts to respond to specific internal and external threats.

Last month, the Ponemon Institute, an independent security research firm, said that U.S. companies spend an average of $204 per record -- and nearly $7 million per breach incident -- to resolve data breaches, almost double the costs absorbed by companies based in Europe.

Verizon security researchers said the inclusion of Secret Service data will help it better understand what happens after a breach to identify suspects, what it takes to extradite foreign crooks to the U.S. and how cybercriminals are prosecuted.

The Secret Service has been using the Verizon Incident Sharing (VERIS) framework to classify and analyze all security incidents in the past year.

"Combating computer-related crimes targeting the U.S. financial infrastructure is a top Secret Service priority," Michael Merritt, assistant director for investigations at the Secret Service, said in a statement. "We are proud to partner with our colleagues in the private sector, academia and at all levels of government to better identify and prevent these insidious attacks."

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.