Cybercrime is Skyrocketing as the World Goes Digital
Worldwide, cybercriminals rake in at least $1.5 trillion every year — an amount equal to Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to research by Dr. Michael McGuire, senior lecturer in criminology at Surrey University and commissioned by security firm Bromium. In fact, if cybercrime were a country, it would have the 13th highest GDP in the world.
McGuire’s revenue figure includes estimated earnings of $860 billion from illicit or illegal online markets, $500 billion from intellectual property theft, $160 billion from data trading, $1.6 billion from crimeware-as-a-service, and $1 billion from ransomware. The research presents evidence that cybercrime revenues often exceed those of legitimate small to midrange companies.
Cybercrime is now a profitable underground economy. The fabled “darknet” provides the platform for transactions, the place where demand meets supply. The evolving cybercrime-as-a-service model offers everything from distributed denial-of-service attacks and malware to shiploads of stolen data sets on demand. Today, engaging in cybercrime is as simple as legitimate e-commerce.
According to the report, whether it’s through hacking companies to steal users or personal data, distribute malware, flog illegal goods and services, establish fake shopfronts to launder money, or simply connect buyers and sellers, cybercriminals are clearly adept at leveraging existing platforms for commercial gain.
Read more: Dark Reading