Chinese hackers are responsible for 96 percent of the world's active cyber espionage campaigns, with European businesses being their victim of choice, according to Verizon.
Verizon revealed the figure in its Data Breach Investigations Report 2013, which analysed 47,000 security incidents, including 621 confirmed data breaches detected on it and its customers networks in 2012.
The research saw a marked increase in the number of sophisticated state-sponsored attacks targeting the world's businesses.
"For the majority (75 percent) of breaches in our data set, the threat actor's country of origin was discoverable, and these were distributed across 40 different nations. It's fascinatingly apparent that motive correlates very highly with country of origin," reads the report.
"A whopping 96 percent of espionage cases were attributed to threat actors in China and the remaining four percent were unknown. This may mean that other such 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 firm detected an increase in the number of state sponsored attacks, with state affiliated groups believed to be responsible for 24 percent of the detected incidents, marking a four percent increase from 2011's figures.
The figure means that China is the biggest source of all cyber attacks being responsible for 30 percent of the entire 47,000 incidents logged by Verizon.
Verizon's principal risk team member Jay Jacob told V3 the attacks are doubly dangerous as they are using new more sophisticated malware and were targeting small to medium sized businesses as well as larger enterprises.
"Espionage is increasingly coordinated and sophisticated type of attack, we're seeing attackers use tailored, heavily customised malware that are extremely advanced and multi-functional," said Jacob.
"Typically in the past we saw hackers ignore SMBs as it didn't really make financial sense to after them and their information, it made more sense to go after the bigger targets. Now we've seen a shift where any small organisation may be breached.
"In terms of espionage it seems they're now going after any company that has the type of data they're after irrespective of size."
Despite the increase, the majority of the attacks are believed to have stemmed from organised crime groups. Verizon reported that organised criminals were responsible for 49 percent of the detected incidents, marking an eight percent decrease on 2011's figures.
Romania overtook Russia, the US and Bulgaria, to become the second largest origin point of cyber attacks, accounting for 28 percent of the recorded incidents.
The US took third place with 18 percent, while Bulgaria took fourth with seven percent and Russia fifth with five percent.
China has long been suspected of being behind several co-ordinated snooping campaigns. The allegations reached new heights earlier in 2013 when security firm Mandiant reported linking an advanced campaign to a Chinese military unit.
China has consistently denied any wrongdoing, maintaining cyber security is a global issue all nations are struggling with.
Traditional theories debunked by new study
Scientists closer to developing material capable of splitting water for better storage of solar energy
Experiments needed to see if the material works in the real world
Developers first in the queue to test TensorRT and TensorFlow integration tools running on Nvidia GPUs
Wikileaks Vault 7 suspect Joshua Schulte fingered by FBI after re-using smartphone passwords on his PCs
Joshua Schulte indicted on 13 counts relating to Vault 7 leaks and trading in images of child abuse