February 22, 2018
The economic impact of cybercrime grows every year, even though the technology to tackle the issue gets increasingly sophisticated. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in cooperation with McAfee reports that one major internet service provider (ISP) sees 80 billion malicious scans a day, the result of automated efforts by cybercriminals to identify vulnerable targets. Many researchers track the quantity of new malware released, with estimates ranging from 300,000 to a million viruses and other malicious software products created every day.
The recent study published by two organizations estimated that the economic cost of cybercrime to the world came close to $600 billion now, or 0.8% of global GDP. The reasons for this growth are listed to be the following:
Quick adoption of new technologies by cybercriminals;
The increased number of new users online (these tend to be from low-income countries with weak cybersecurity);
The increased ease of committing cybercrime with the growth of Cybercrime-as-a-Service;
An expanding number of cybercrime centers that now include Brazil, India, North Korea, and Vietnam;
A growing financial sophistication among top-tier cybercriminals that, among other things, makes monetization easier.
Cybercrime costs the world close to $600 billion – a $150 billion increase since 2014.
Banks remain the number one target of criminals, despite spending three times as much on cybersecurity than other industries.
The loss of intellectual property (IP) and company-sensitive information accounts for at least a quarter of the cost of cybercrime and contributes annual losses of between $10 and $12 billion for the US and potentially $50 billion to $60 billion globally.
Ransomware is the fastest-growing type of cybercrime, aided by cybercrime-as-a-service, which is also flourishing.
Identity theft is the most expensive form of property crime the in the US, costing $10 billion more than the losses attributed to all other property crime.
Cryptocurrencies are enabling cybercrime by allowing criminals to hide their identity while paying for services.
The digital world has transformed almost every aspect of our lives, including risk and crime, so that crime is more efficient, less risky, more profitable, and has never been easier to execute, said Steve Grobman, Chief Technology Officer for McAfee.
Consider the use of ransomware, where criminals can outsource much of their work to skilled contractors. Ransomware-as-a-service cloud providers efficiently scale attacks to target millions of systems, and attacks are automated to require minimal human involvement. Add to these factors cryptocurrencies that ease rapid monetization while minimizing the risk of arrest, and you must sadly conclude that the 600-billion-dollar cybercrime figure reflects the extent to which our technological accomplishments have transformed the criminal economy as dramatically as they have every other portion of our economy.
In my opinion, real adoption is coming. There is an infrastructure inversion on the horizon. We have suffered several infrastructure inversions in the past century. They are never obvious, only in hindsight. Cars were made fun of when they got stuck in mud roads dominated by horses. Once the infrastructure switched and roads improved, horses could still walk on them, but cars got way faster. For years, telecommunication companies refused to switch from analog to digital to communicate more data. Once they did, it was trivial to run voice over their new infrastructure, but the other way around was almost impossible. I think the same is true with Bitcoin: traditional banking that takes days and charges high fees can be easily implemented on Bitcoin, but the opposite is not true. – Ramon Recuero, a Hacker at YC.