LONDON ( MEDIA )
The cost of cyber crime for the global economy has been estimated at $445 billion (£266 billion) annually. Cyber espionage and stealing individuals’ personal information is believed to have affected more than 800 million people during 2013.
Financial losses from cybertheft could cause as many as 150,000 Europeans to lose their jobs, according to a report conducted by internet security company McAfee.
Cyber crime damages trade between nations, competitiveness, innovation, and global economic growth, and slows the pace of global innovation.
McAfee is calling for governments to begin a serious, systematic effort to collect and publish data on cybercrime to help countries and companies make better choices about risk and policy.
Studies estimate that the internet economy annually generates between $2 trillion and $3 trillion, a share of the global economy that is expected to grow rapidly. Based on Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) analysis, cybercrime extracts between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of the value created by the internet.
Despite one London-based business losing $1.3 billion (£800 million) in a single malicious attack during 2012, the majority of cyber criminals still have substantial difficulty in monetising their stolen data.
The total cost of cyber crime to the UK economy alone was $11.4 billion during 2013, the equivalent to 0.16 per cent of the GDP. Retailers lost more than $850 million during the same period as a result of penalty free financial crime.
The figures do not come as a surprise to security professionals and big businesses, said Mark Sparshott, EMEA director of security firm Proofpoint.
He said the attraction of cybercrime to many criminals was due to its relatively low level of risk.
“The volumes of attacks are increasing because it is a profitable business model for organised crime,” he said. ” With cyber crime there is no risky getaway because the attack is routed through hundreds or thousands of PCs in dozens of countries, making it almost impossible to trace. The internet makes most attacks anonymous and untraceable and that is really attractive to cybercriminals.”
Raj Samani, EMEA Chief Technology Officer for McAfee, agreed. “It is clear that cyber crime has a real and detrimental impact on the global economy. Over time, cyber crime has become a growth industry; the returns are great, and the risks are low,” he said.
“As more businesses move online and more consumers connect to the internet, the opportunities for cybercrime will only grow, making it imperative that countries work together now to proactively tackle cyber crime.”