Guru Gyan
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Guru Gyan

Cybercrimes Come With A Price Tag

A look into a series of reports which talk about how online crime activities have increased this year.

Before we head into the article, we need to understand what cybercrime is. Cybercrime is a criminal activity that either targets or uses a computer, a computer network or a networked device. Cybercrime uses a computer as an instrument to commit illegal activities, like committing fraud, trafficking in child pornography and intellectual property, stealing identities or violating privacy. Now, on to the article…

Recently, a research report called The Hidden Costs of Cybercrime was done by McAfee Corp and with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The report surveyed 1500 companies.

What Did It Find?

  • This report has found that the cost of global cybercrimes is estimated to reach over $1 trillion this year. This number is up by more than 50% since 2018. The researchers noted an increase in a range of attacks including ransomware, phishing, business email takeovers, spyware and cryptocurrency theft.
  • Of the 1,500 surveyed companies, only 4% claimed they did not experience any sort of cyber incident in 2019.
  • 33% of respondents stated IT security incidents result in system downtime cost them between $100,000 and $500,000.
  • 92% of companies felt effects beyond monetary losses, including brand reputation and reduced efficiency.
  • For most companies, it takes on average, 19 hours to move from discovering a security incident to remediation. It also costs companies an average of eight people to find and respond to an IT security incident.
  • Only 44% of the companies surveyed stated that they have plans in place to both prevent and respond to security incidents.

More Reports, More Findings

This is not the only report that is pointing out the vulnerabilities in our systems and the rise in cybercrime activities. According to the World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2020, cyberattacks rank first among global human-caused risks.

Another report by US-based company Cybersecurity Ventures says that global cybercrime costs are anticipated to grow by 15% per year over the next five years, reaching $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, up from $3 trillion in 2015. It said that the damage caused by cybercrime is larger than the “damage inflicted from natural disasters” globally. The report also said that if cybercrime were a country, its economy would be bigger than India’s.

Cybercrime Makes Money

We understand that these reports are painting a grim picture of the cybercrimes in the future but experts believe that these reports might become true. Why do you ask? Because cybercrime is a profitable business.

McAfee CTO Steve Grobman was quoted by SDxCentral saying “Cybercrime is a business, and it’s a good business,” and added, “We’d expect is to see cybercriminals continue to run their criminal enterprises to generate significant monetary benefit for their cybercrime organizations or nation states…”

The report by Cybersecurity Ventures said that cybercrimes are likely to become more profitable than trading in major illegal drugs by 2025.

Prevention

Cybercrimes might not reduce in the future but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be taking necessary measures to protect ourselves. The report by McAfee and CSIS included some of the best practices for protecting ourselves and organisations from cybercrime. They include:

1) Uniform implementation of basic security measures

2) Increased transparency within organisations

3) Standardization and coordination of cybersecurity requirements

4) Provide cybersecurity awareness training for employees

5) Develop prevention and response plans

In the end, all we want to say is that cybercrimes should be taken seriously and organisations should implement measures to safeguard themselves and their data from these threats. Because once the hackers attack the data, it takes money, manpower and several other resources to find and fix them.

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