Cybercrimes have cost businesses close to $600 billion globally — or 0.8 percent of the global GDP — which is up from $445 billion reported three years back, a report said on Thursday. The report by the global cybersecurity firm McAfee, prepared along with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said that over the last three years, cybercriminals have quickly adopted new technologies to ease the process of engaging in cybercrimes.
“Ransomware-as-a-Service Cloud providers efficiently scale attacks to target millions of systems, and attacks are automated to require minimal human involvement,” Steve Grobman, Chief Technology Officer for McAfee, said in a statement.
“Add to these factors cryptocurrencies that ease rapid monetisation, while minimising the risk of arrest, and you must conclude that the $600 billion 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,” he added.
The report, titled “Economic Impact of Cybercrime — No Slowing Down”, said that banks remain the favourite target for cybercriminals. Russia, North Korea and Iran are the most active in hacking financial institutions, while China is the most active in cyber espionage. “Our research bore out the fact that Russia is the leader in cybercrime, reflecting the skill of its hacker community and its disdain for Western law enforcement,” said James Lewis, Senior Vice President at CSIS.
“North Korea is second in line, as the nation uses cryptocurrency theft to help fund its regime, and we’re now seeing an expanding number of cybercrime centres, including not only North Korea but also Brazil, India and Vietnam,” Lewis added. Cybercrime losses are greater in richer countries; however, the countries with the greatest losses are mid-tier nations that are digitised but not yet fully capable in cybersecurity, the rpeort noted.