Unfortunately, if there’s an internet connection present, then there’s probably also a cybercriminal lying in waiting for the perfect time to strike. As we are increasingly more connected and we rely on the internet more and more, that creates more and more opportunities for cybercrime, including hacking, data breaches, credit card fraud, etc. Here are some statistics explaining just how serious the issue is, not only in the US but globally:
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime includes every type of crime that is committed using the internet or a computer. The obvious types of cybercrime include hacking, data breaches, fraud, etc., but also things like cyberbullying, holding stolen information for ransom, selling drugs, producing, selling, or distributing child pornography, and others.
Cybercrime occurs all over the world, and it is not limited to just one area or one kind of victim or perpetrator. Anyone can fall victim to cybercrime, and lots of people do every year. Here are some of the most worrying statistics.
The biggest problem, and the one that enables so many instances of cybercrime to occur, is that people are not educated enough when it comes to issues of cybercrime. We underestimate how serious cybercrime is, and what a real threat it represents. This is a tremendous oversight that comes to cost many of us dearly in the end.
- A new cyber attack occurs every 39 seconds – this statistic refers to the frequency that attacks are attempted. Not all of them are successful if the targeted person has taken precautions.
- More than ¾ of US organizations fell victim to cyberattacks over the last year – hackers are targeting SMEs that handle client data and financial information because they are less likely to have a really strong security system.
- Almost one-quarter of Americans experienced cyberattacks with financial consequences – credit card fraud is extremely frequent in the US and it can create some real issues when dealing with recouping your money and detangling yourself from the resulting mess.
- One-third of Americans experienced a data breach in 2018 – the problem is that we give out our details to companies in exchange for services and convenience: ordering something online, shipping, etc. When they get hacked, it’s our information that gets stolen.
- 2019 saw over 1,000 data breaches – breaches are not rare at all; in fact, there were around 100 per day in 2019 alone.
- There are more and more breaches every year – data breaches are only increasing in number. The more valuable information we collectively hold, the more likely we are to become targets of a data breach.
- Malware variety on mobile has grown by half – sadly, hackers aren’t relying on the same old tricks; they’re improving them as we speak, so we can never quite catch up.
It’s not just the frequency of the attacks that are growing; it’s also their consequences. The financial impact is tremendous, with plenty of individuals and organizations alike losing money as a result of becoming a victim of cybercrime.
- The United States is losing around $100 billion to cybercrime every year – the United States is one of the primary targets for cybercrime in the world, and it suffers for it – to the tune of $100 billion in losses.
- Globally, cybercrime is costing us $445 billion a year – all over the world, people are financially impacted by cybercrime. Developing countries that are less familiar with the online world are especially vulnerable to this.
- Phishing alone is costing us $1.4 billion – the Nigerian prince and his friends contacting you via email, text, or suspicious links cost us around $1.4 billion a year. Yes, with a “b”.
- A business can lose $1.6 million to a phishing attack – phishing attacks are extremely expensive. Dealing with the aftermath of having someone steal your clients’ information is time-consuming and money-sucking.
- Cyberattacks run 60% of impacted small companies out of business – unfortunately, small businesses bear the brunt of the negative impact. They have less money, but they’re also less prepared for attacks, which is why they are often targeted and never recover.
- Online dating scams (or catfishing) cost Americans $1 billion over the last three years – lots of people, but primarily elderly women, fall for internet scammers masquerading as lovers. They woo you and sweet-talk you until you trust them and then start asking for money or steal your identity.
What are the circumstances of these attacks? What facilitates them? We must educate ourselves regarding the causes in order to be able to proficiently protect ourselves from attacks.
- Most attacks will occur via your phone or email – make sure to choose strong passwords that are more difficult to hack.
- Malware and ransomware are to blame for almost 40% of global breaches – ransomware is one of the most common types of cybercrime, where hackers take your data hostage and make you pay for it. If you don’t pay, you don’t get your system back.
- Phishing and spam are the main culprits for ransomware – beware of phishing attempts and pop-ups that you end up clicking.
- Employees cause more than half of business cybercrime – this happens when you haven’t educated your employees on cybersecurity matters. Teach them about cybercrime and invest in anti-malware software.
The important thing to remember is that while cybercrime is on the rise, there are definitely things we can do to prevent it or at least minimize its effects. Education is the most important part of the process, as awareness if lacking in this department.
The more aware we are of the danger of these criminals and the damage they can create, the better we can protect ourselves. Just make sure to take all the necessary steps for securing your devices and your sensitive information, from setting strong passwords to never clicking unknown links or sharing financial information with untrustworthy parties.