An attention grabbing report by Norton, owned by Symantec, reveals that cybercrime nets more than marijuana, heroin and cocaine combined. $338 Billion dollars, yes, with a B, per year. $288 Billion is the estimated profits for these three drugs and the overall drug trade brings in an estimated $411 Billion.
Even worse, over 1 million people per day are victimized by online crime or 431 million per year. In spite of this, 41% of us do not have adequate up to date virus or malware protection on our system and 60% of us have been victims of a virus. 10% of us have already experienced malware on our mobile device.
We also seem to be addicted to the internet. 24% of us “can’t live” without the internet, and between 32% and 41% are heavily dependent, socially, on the internet, it’s an integral part of our lives.
73% of Americans have been the victim of a cybercrime. In China the figure is 85%!
This is truly serious business. When I was in my MBA program, a wee bit more than ten years ago, I attempted to discover the ‘financial impact of hackers on business’. We had no formulas for determining this impact. I had to use hours invested by an IT department to determine the extent of damage, hours it took per administrator to reload the system from backup files, and I had to make a SWAG as to the amount of lost productivity that occurred. On top of this if word leaked out that Company A or Corporation B was ‘hacked’, their reputation suffered and a perceived decrease in market share resulted. Corporations were loathe to share real figures with me, their paranoia over the information leaking to a competitor was a constant impediment to my study. I no longer have the figures on hand and the scope of my study was businesses within the Washington DC area, but it appears as if the problem has become worse, much worse. From the looks of it, it will not improve any time soon.
The report gives some good recommendations for users of all types. Keep your systems up to date, especially patches to all installed software as well as all security updates. Keep your passwords strong and change them often.