Cyber crime, which encompasses any criminal activities dealing with computers and networks, has been considered becoming increasingly serious as it is estimated that cyber crime currently costs the global economy about of $445 billion a year, according to a latest report conducted by Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
The report indicates that the cyber criminal activities including hacking and stealing individuals’ personal information are believed to have affected over 800 million people worldwide in 2013, involving up to $150 billion loss. Around 40 million people in the US, representing about 15% of the population, has had personal information stolen by cyber criminals, while high-profile breaches affected 54 million people in Turkey, 16 million in Germany and more than 20 million in China.
Cyber crime is also affecting international trade, competitiveness innovation, and global economic growth. “Cyber crime is a tax on innovation and slows the pace of global innovation by reducing the rate of return to innovators and investors,” Jim Lewis of Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said in a statement.”For developed countries, cyber crime has serious implications for employment.” As many as 150,000 people in Europe and 200,000 people in the US have lost their jobs due to the financial losses caused by cybercrime.
In the UK, cyber crime is responsible for more than $850 million loss in retail industry, the total cost of cybercrime to the UK economy was $11.4 billion in 2013, accounting for 0.47% of nation’s GDP; The US reported that over 3,000 companies in 2013 had been hacked; while Australia has had one of the largest scale cyber attacks against airline, hotel chains and financial sectors with costing over $100 million. Some major developing and developed economies are being hit by cyber crime the hardest with the US, China, Japan and Germany reaching about $200 billion a year in total.
Another part of the losses caused by cyber crime is from “recovery costs”, which refers to the cost of digital and electronic clean-up after being attacked by cyber crime. For example in Italy, the actual hacking caused about $875 million loss, but the bill for recovery and clean-up after the hacking topped $8.5 billion.
Internet security company McAfee is calling for attentions from governments across the globe to cooperate and conduct a serious, systematic effort to collect and publish data on cybercrime, in order to help countries and global companies to cope better with cyber crime.