Corporate data is money, at least in the eyes of the cyber criminals.

A new study from McAfee and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) concludes the majority of cybercriminals are making the shift from stealing personal information to taking corporate intellectual capital from big-time global companies. This kind of information, the study of 1,000 IT security professionals says, is what cybercriminals see as more valuable in the long-term.

Cybercriminals have shifted their focus from physical assets to data driven properties, such as trade secrets or product planning documents, said Simon Hunt, vice president and chief technology officer of endpoint security at McAfee.

 We've seen significant attacks targeting this type of information. Sophisticated attacks such as s Operation Aurora, and even unsophisticated attacks like Night Dragon, have infiltrated some of the of the largest, and seemingly most protected corporations in the world. Criminals are targeting corporate intellectual capital and they are often succeeding.

The change in attitude is a global phenomenon as the researchers interviewed IT security people in the U.S., U.K., Japan, China, India, Brazil and the Middle East. The impact has become greater as 25 percent of the organizations said they have had a merger/acquisition and/or a new product/solution slowed by a data breach.

Sophisticated attackers infiltrate a network, steal valid credentials on the network, and operate freely - just as an insider would. Having defensive strategies against these blended insider threats is essential, and organizations need insider threat tools that can predict attacks based on human behavior, said Scott Aken, vice president for cyber operations at SAIC, in a statement.

The study also found that the continued emergence of more devices, such as the iPhone and iPad, have made it even harder to secure data. Sixty two percent of respondents said this was a challenge.

In addition, the study also found a lot of companies have begun storing intellectual property abroad to save money. Companies that store abroad may be spending $1 million per week, whereas companies storing such data domestically can spend $1 million per day.