Cybercriminal activity is one of the biggest challenges that humanity will face in the next two decades Press Release
The 2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report is sponsored by Herjavec Group, a leading global cybersecurity advisory firm and Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) with offices across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Download PDF
– Steve Morgan, Editor-in-Chief
Northport, N.Y. – Dec. 7, 2018
In August of 2016, Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015. This represents the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history, risks the incentives for innovation and investment, and will be more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined.
The cybercrime prediction stands, and over the past two-plus years it has been corroborated by hundreds of major media outlets, academia, senior government officials, associations, industry experts, the largest technology and cybersecurity companies, and cybercrime fighters globally.
Frank W. Abagnale, an FBI consultant for over 40 years and one of the world’s most respected authorities on forgery, embezzlement, and secure documents, concurs with the $6 trillion cybercrime damage cost prediction. “I’m very concerned with cyber starting to turn very dark,” says Abagnale, the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film, Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Abagnale and Tom Hanks as the FBI agent fast on his heels. “Up until now it’s just a financial crime for the purpose of stealing money – or stealing data that is money – but we have the ability now to turn someone’s pacemaker off.”
Cybersecurity Ventures’ damage cost projections are based on historical cybercrime figures including recent year-over-year growth, a dramatic increase in hostile nation state sponsored and organized crime gang hacking activities, and a cyberattack surface which will be an order of magnitude greater in 2021 than it is today.
Cybersecurity Ventures predicts cybercrime damages will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015.
Cybercrime costs include damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, embezzlement, fraud, post-attack disruption to the normal course of business, forensic investigation, restoration and deletion of hacked data and systems, and reputational harm.
“This dramatic rise (in damage costs) only reinforces the sharp increase in the number of organizations unprepared for a cyber attack,” says Robert Herjavec, founder and CEO at Herjavec Group, a Managed Security Services Provider with offices and SOCs (Security Operations Centers) globally.
Cyberattacks are the fastest growing crime in the U.S., and they are increasing in size, sophistication and cost. A major data breach — the second largest ever — suffered by Marriott and disclosed near the end of 2018, is estimated to have exposed 500 million user accounts. The Yahoo hack — the largest ever — was recalculated to have affected 3 billion user accounts (up from an earlier estimate of 1 billion), and the Equifax breach in 2017 — with 145.5 million customers affected — exceeded the largest publicly disclosed hacks ever reported up until that time. These major hacks alongside the WannaCry and NotPetyacyberattacks, which occurred in 2017 are not only larger scale and more complex than previous attacks, but they are a sign of the times.
The cybercrime epidemic has hit the U.S. so hard that a supervisory special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who investigates cyber intrusions told The Wall Street Journal that every American citizen should expect that all of their data (personally identifiable information) has been stolen and is now on the dark web.
“DDoS attacks, ransomware, and an increase in zero day exploits are contributing to the cybercrime damages prediction becoming a reality,” adds Herjavec. “What really worries me though, is that all the hype around cybercrime – the headlines, the breach notices etc. – makes us complacent. The risk is very real and we can’t allow ourselves to be lulled into a sense of inevitability.”
Cyber Attack Surface
Our entire society, the Planet Earth, is connecting up to the Internet – people, places, and Things. The rate of Internet connection is outpacing our ability to properly secure it.
Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that there will be 6 billion Internet users by 2022 (75 percent of the projected world population of 8 billion) — and more than 7.5 billion Internet users by 2030 (90 percent of the projected world population of 8.5 billion, 6 years of age and older).
Like street crime, which historically grew in relation to population growth, we are witnessing a similar evolution of cybercrime. It’s not just about more sophisticated weaponry; it’s as much about the growing number of human and digital targets.
“The degree of difficulty in protecting businesses from cyber attacks grows in proportion to a number of factors,” says Herjavec. “Emerging threat actors, the prominence of interconnected devices and the most critical in my opinion – the VAST amount of data that needs to be secured – are all adding to this complex challenge.”