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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cyber crime is costing you money

There is a lot of cyber crime activity happening everyday. Hackers are breaking into people’s bank accounts, credit card accounts, emails and social networks, and they’re also breaching the confidentiality of many businesses across the world.

Most people don’t realize that cyber crime costs everyone money, even if they weren’t directly affected by a hacking or security breach.

According to the Norton Cybercrime Report, 556 million people are victimized by cyber crimes every year, which translates into 1.5 million people per day or 18 victims per second.

What is a cyber crime?

Most people think that a cyber crime refers to the hacking of their computers or information shared over their computers, but cyber crimes also refer to information taken from mobile devices. With the prevalence of smartphones, more and more people are being victimized through their mobile devices. From 2010 to 2011, the amount of cyber crimes occurring from mobile devices doubled. The biggest mobile cyber crime activities occur when a person loses their mobile device or connects to the Internet on unsecured wi-fi connections.

Who is affected?

Everyone everywhere is affected by cyber crimes and ends up paying for it. Out of all the countries, China is most affected by cyber crimes, which costs the country about $46 billion every year. The United States is next, costing about $21 billion per year.

Anyone can be a victim of a cyber crime, and the less educated you are on the topic, the more likely it is that you’ll fall victim. Over 30% of people do not think about online security while using the Internet, and about 21% of people do not take any type of precaution to protect themselves and their information while using the Internet.

How much does cyber crime cost?

Between the amount of money that we spend on cyber crime defense mechanisms and what we lose from cyber crime activity, the amount of money spent every year due to cyber crimes comes in at $110 billion. This averages out to $197 per person.

Bloomberg Businessweek provides a good breakdown of cyber crime costs. About $97 million is spent on fake antivirus software. Many hackers and scam artists are sending notifications to individuals telling them that malware has been found on their computer and they need to download this software to cure it, only the “software” is actually malware, and now this person’s information has been compromised. It is reported that from 2008 to 2010, criminals earned an estimated $97 million from sending fake antivirus scams. About $320 million is taken from individuals whose bank accounts are hacked into.

Individuals and companies are also spending a great deal of money trying to protect themselves from cyber crimes. Every year, about $3.4 million is spent on antivirus software and over $10 million is spent on cleanup after a computer has been infested with a virus (think Best Buy’s Geek Squad). Large companies also tend to spend about $10 million every year in antivirus software, training and firewalls.

Unfortunately we live in a world filled with technology and criminals, and cyber crimes are not going to go away. So if you haven’t realized that cybercrimes cost you money, they do, and you may as well get comfortable with it. That is, unless some magical software is created that is extremely defensive until another hacker breaks it.

About the author: This article was prepared with the help of Authentify Solutions. Authentify is a leader in two factor authentication.