Researchers at Comparitech, the security and privacy advice and comparison website, have conducted an assessment of reported figures released by the police and/or government, to reveal that victims worldwide lose an estimated $318bn each year to cybercrime. Unfortunately, the UK specifically was found to have the highest number of reported cybercrime victims with 1,095 victims per 100,000 people in 2020 alone. By the researcher’s calculations, in terms of monetary losses, the UK ranked third highest following the United States and Brazil, losing $17.4 billion annually.
Other key findings from the research include:
- The majority of cybercrimes reported in the UK in 2020/21 were related to hacking social media and email accounts.
- 71.1 million fall victim to cybercrimes globally each year – this equates to nearly 900 victims per 100,000 people.
- The average victim loss is $4,476 per crime.
- Sri Lanka saw the largest increase in the number of cybercrime reported between 2019 to 2020, growing 359% year-on-year.
IT Security Guru reached out to some cybersecurity experts who had their say on the findings:
“These numbers are not surprising, but still are concerning. Cybercrime continues to be big business for criminals and with more services being digitally connected, it makes it even easier to make off with big gains.
“It’s easy to create a tech service or to digitise existing services, however, security needs to be built in from the beginning to ensure that there are no vulnerabilities. This also includes educating users of products as to what kind of threats they can expect to face and how to report any suspicious activity. Without educating users to identify and report criminal activity, we won’t be able to stem the flow of cybercrime,” said Javvad Malik lead security awareness advocate at KnowBe4.
And PJ Norris, Principal Systems Engineer at Tripwire, said:
“We have seen a rise in cybercrime and most notably ransomware. Not only have ransomware attacks been growing globally, but the amounts they have been demanding have been getting higher, and there has been more specific targeting of victims.
Many high-profile organisations have suffered and lost large sums due to ransomware. This rise in attacks might be a direct result of how profitable these attacks can be. After all, cybercrime in general – and ransomware in particular – is motivated by monetary gain.
For many cities and enterprises, recovery from backups is also not a cheap option, so preventing ransomware is vitally important. With many infections spreading through phishing, training users to be able to spot and report suspected attempts is the first line of defence before technical controls. Furthermore, its imperative organisations are hardening systems to help safeguard the integrity of their digital assets and protect against vulnerabilities.”