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Cybercrime cost rises to US$600b globally

AFP
The annual cost of cybercrime has hit US$600 billion worldwide, fueled by growing sophistication of hackers and proliferation of criminal marketplaces and cryptocurrencies.
AFP

The annual cost of cybercrime has hit US$600 billion worldwide, fueled by growing sophistication of hackers and proliferation of criminal marketplaces and cryptocurrencies, researchers said yesterday.

A report produced by the security firm McAfee with the US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies found theft of intellectual property represents about one-fourth of the cost of cybercrime in 2017.

The researchers said ransomware is the fastest-growing component of cybercrime, helped by the easy availability of marketplaces offering hacking services.

The global research report comes days after the White House released a report showing cyberattacks cost the United States between US$57 billion and US$109 billion in 2016, while warning of a “spillover” effect for the broader economy if certain sectors are hit.

Globally, criminals are using the same tools for data or identity theft, bank hacks, and other cyber mischief, with anonymity preserved by using bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.

“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.

The study did not attempt to measure the cost of all malicious activity on the Internet, but focused on the loss of proprietary business data, online fraud and financial crimes, manipulation directed toward publicly traded companies, cyber insurance and reputational damage.



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