A third of global cybercrime happens in Asia, report says
Up to one third of all cybercrime perpetrated globally happens in the Asia-Pacific region, with hackers setting their sights on banks in “midtier” nations that have adopted digital strategies but have yet to grasp the gamut of threats posed by cybercriminals.
As such, internet security firm McAfee urged companies and national authorities to uniformly implement basic security measures and invest in “defensive technologies” that would protect computer infrastructure against malicious hacking.
The findings and recommendations were contained in a report released yesterday by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) titled “Economic Impact of Cybercrime—No Slowing Down” which focused on the impact of cybercrime on economies worldwide.
The report concludes that cybercrime costs businesses close to $600 billion, or 0.8 percent of global gross domestic product, which is up from a 2014 study that put global losses at about $445 billion.
The East Asia and Pacific zone accounts for up to $200 billion of this total.
The report attributes the growth over three years to cybercriminals quickly adopting new technologies, the ease of engaging in cybercrime—including an expanding number of cybercrime centers—and the growing financial sophistication of top-tier cybercriminals.
“The digital world has transformed almost every aspect of our lives, including risk and crime, so that crime is more efficient, less risky, more profitable and has never been easier to execute,” McAfee chief technology officer Steve Grobman said in a statement.
“Consider the use of ransomware, where criminals can outsource much of their work to skilled contractors,” he said. “Ransomware-as-a-service cloud providers efficiently scale attacks to target millions of systems, and attacks are automated to require minimal human involvement. Add to these factors cryptocurrencies that ease rapid monetization, while minimizing the risk of arrest, and you must sadly conclude that the $600 billion cybercrime figure reflects the extent to which our technological accomplishments have transformed the criminal economy as dramatically as they have every other portion of our economy.”
The report noted that banks remained the favorite target of cybercriminals, and nation states were the most dangerous source of cybercrime.
Russia, North Korea and Iran are the most active in hacking financial institutions, while China is the most active in cyberespionage.
Cybercrime losses are greater in richer countries, but those with the greatest losses as a percentage of national income are midtier nations that are digitized but not yet fully capable in cybersecurity.