Symnantec highlights an increased threat to public sector security in the latest edition of its threat report which covers the last six months of 2006.
According to the study, a quarter of data breaches involved information held by government or its agencies. The second highest number of data breaches, 20%, affected education, with the health sector third with 14%.
Over half of the data breaches occurred due to the theft or loss of a computer or hardware such as a USB stick.
The company advises that data encryption is one of the most effective methods of maintaining security. A large number of security breaches occur while data is in transit and encrypting data would remove 50 per cent of breaches from those sources.
Governments also suffered 30% of all detected Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.