Cybercrime loss to global economy is $100-$500 billion: McAfee

Cybercrime loss to the global economy is between $100 billion and $500 billion, a study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and sponsored by McAfee.

The estimated loss due to Cybercrime and Cyber espionage is $100 billion to the U.S. economy. As many as 508,000 U.S. jobs lost as a result of malicious cyber activity.

CSIS noted the difficulty of relying on methods such as surveys because companies that reveal their cyber losses often cannot estimate what has been taken, intellectual property losses are difficult to quantify and the self-selection process of surveys can distort the results.

For purposes of the research, CSIS classified malicious cyber activity into six areas:

  • The loss of intellectual property
  • Cybercrime
  • The loss of sensitive business information, including possible stock market manipulation
  • Opportunity costs, including service disruptions and reduced trust for online activities
  • The additional cost of securing networks, insurance and recovery from cyber attacks
  • Reputational damage to the hacked company

“We believe the CSIS report is the first to use actual economic modeling to build out the figures for the losses attributable to malicious cyber activity,” said Mike Fey, executive vice president and chief technology officer at McAfee.

The cost of malicious cyber activity involves more than the loss of financial assets or intellectual property. There are opportunity costs, damage to brand and reputation, consumer losses from fraud, the opportunity costs of service disruptions, cleaning up after cyber incidents and the cost of increased spending on cybersecurity. Each of these categories must be approached carefully, but in combination, they help us gauge the cost to societies.

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