By 2021, cybercrime is expected to cause roughly $6 trillion worth of annual damages, annually, according to a newly published report authored by Cybersecurity Ventures and backed by security consulting giant The Herjavec Group.
If the $6 trillion figure ultimately proves accurate, it would represent double of that reportedly witnessed this year — totaling $3 trillion in estimated damages experienced by governments, businesses and private citizens at the hands of cyber criminals. The World Economic Forum also estimated the economic cost of cybercrime to be approximately $3 trillion worldwide.
“Damages” are defined as any incident where hackers caused the destruction or theft of money, intellectual property, personal or financial data. Additional monetary losses experienced due to lost employee productivity, embezzlement, fraud, forensic investigations or other restoration efforts, are similarly included in the total. Who exactly qualifies as a “cyber criminal,” however, is less clear, based on the report, as criminal cyber syndicates have increasingly shown a willingness to work alongside nation-states.
The report by Cybersecurity Ventures is based on evidence collected from market intelligence reports, an analysis of current geopolitical conditions, data concerning a shortage in the cybersecurity workforce, relevant media clips and independently conducted interviews with prominent industry figures, among other things.
Central to the report’s claims of increased future damage, according to Cybersecurity Ventures’ chief Steve Morgan, is the introduction of first-time internet users and a growing adoption of Internet of Things devices by everyday consumers. The prevalence of IoT technology is considered an expanding “attack vector” for hackers, the report states.
“By 2020 the world will need to cyber-defend 50 times more data than it does today,” Cybersecurity Ventures’ report reads.