With cybercriminal activities perpetually on the rise, cybercrime is one of the most significant challenges that humanity has faced. Also, with the trend of hacking, experts predict that this will continue for even more than two decades. Cybercrime has become profitable and even more comfortable with the sales of stolen data in the black market.
Since the use of unknown online currencies as means of payment, these digital currencies are a challenge to track online. Cryptocurrencies like Tor and Bitcoin are giving room for cybercriminals to thrive. Cybercriminal organizations are growing more tentacles. By increasing their scale of operation, the frequency of their attacks is expanding.
Cost of Damage
The price of damage as a result of cybercriminal activities goes beyond the loss of cash. It also involves the robbery of intellectual property, loss of personal, organizational data to theft. Therefore losing productivity which obstructs the normal flow of business operations. Other hidden cost includes time spent on restoration or deletion of hacked data and malware. A security systems breach causes reputational harm and loss of customers’ confidence suffered.
Increasing cybercriminal activities makes it impossible to estimate the actual cost of the damage caused by cybercrime. Although cyber-crimes are often reported in the media, these are just a piece of the whole picture. In most cases, this kind of crime is frequently not reported to the authorities.
Recently, McAfee, as well as the Center for Strategic and International Studies released a report. It estimates that the global cost of damage as result of cybercrimes is up to $600 billion. This figure constitutes about 0.8% of the worldwide GDP. The extent of this global economic report causes a sense of worry. Findings obtained from similar reports in 2014, shows more than 20% increase in cybercrime estimated damage cost. Increased theft of intellectual property and vital secret information, accounts for about 25% of the cost of global cybercrimes.
Who is affected?
The reports further reveal that all regions of the world are affected by this global trend. Even though there may be variation in figures that represent the cost of the damage. These variations are dependent on the regional economic prosperity and cyber technology maturity. These factors are evident by the fact that the wealthiest countries suffer the most significant losses. Europe and Asia alone lost about 160 to 180 billion dollars followed by North America who endured about 140 to 175 billion dollars loss. South America and Sub-Saharan Africa are the least hit losing 15 to 30 billion dollars and 1 to 3 billion dollars respectively.
Predictions from cyber authorities reveal that by the year 2021, the estimated cost of cybercrime damage may be $6 trillion annually against the $3 trillion recorded in 2015. Financial cyber analysts explain that this will be one of the highest magnitudes of wealth amassed from illegal activities. More significant than the amount of money accrued from the sales of all kinds of illicit drugs.
The more complacent we become it appears, the media is overrun with reports of ransomware and another form of cyber-attack. The reality is that this is a significant threat to all sorts of digital innovation and global investments. The risk that cybercrime poses is not covered by any form of insurance, hence it is not a risk we can continue. Instead, it is time to collectively make efforts to protect our enterprises from the escalating wave of cybercrimes.
Linda Rawson is the CEO, and Founder of DynaGrace Enterprises, (http://DynaGrace.com) which is a Women-Owned, Small Business. She is also the author of The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts.