The Current State of Cybercrime
Cybercrime is on the rise—there’s no doubt about it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like things are going to get better anytime in the near future. Analysts surmise that the world’s cyber security problem is only going to get worse.
For a clearer picture of the current state of cybercrime, let’s take a brief look at the correlations between some of the major facts, figures, and events that made cybercrime the issue it is in 2016 up to now.
2016: A major year for cybercrime
2016 was a tough year for cybersecurity, and the statistics prove it. Symantec’s 2017 Internet Security Threat Report revealed that an average of 23 major data breaches occurred every week in 2016. That’s more than 1,000 breaches for the entire year, and it represents around a 40% increase from 2015.
Due to these data breaches, more than 1.1 billion personal records were either stolen or lost. Information exposed included voter records, social security numbers, and account login details, among others. However, data loss was not the only issue. Cybercrime also resulted in significant financial losses in 2016.
In June 2017, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center released an official report which stated that victims of cybercrime lost $1.45 billion in 2016, and this was just for the US. The global cost was much higher, at over $450 billion.
Because of all the damage cybercrime has caused, companies are now more aggressive than ever before when it comes to protecting their information—they’re investing a lot of money in cybersecurity. According to a report by the International Data Corporation, companies around the world spent more than $73.7 billion on cybersecurity in 2016.
The proliferation of malware
Malware is a widely used weapon in a cyberattack, and it looks like countless new types are made every day. In 2016, Symantec discovered 357 million new varieties of malware. That’s an average of around 978,000 per day.
Ransomware, a type of malware, was responsible for a significant portion of cybercrime in 2016. In their 2017 Internet Security Report, Symantec stated that there was a total of 463,841 ransomware detections last year, and it was a 36% increase from 2015.
In a separate report, the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the U.S. Department of Justice declared that there have been more than 4,000 ransomware attacks every single day since January 1, 2016. By comparison, CCIPS only recorded 1,000 attacks per day in 2015, which means ransomware attacks have increased by 300% since then.
Cybercrime in 2017
2017 was also a year of large-scale cyberattacks. There was the spread of the WannaCry ransomware which crippled thousands of targets including companies, the Petya/NotPetya ransomware infections a month later, and the hack of now President of France Emmanuel Macron, just to name a few.
In May of this year, cybersecurity giant Kaspersky reported that ransomware increased by a whopping 250% in the first few months of 2017. In addition, the number of detections totalled 218,625 in the first quarter of the year. This is more than three times the number of detections in the previous quarter which was 61,832. By the end of 2017, it is expected that the cost of damage from ransomware will be upwards of $5 billion.
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