Cybercrime Keeps Growing

According to the 2014 US State of Cybercrime Survey, a yearly report on cybercrime trends in America, the United States Director of National Intelligence now ranks cybercrime as a top national security threat, a greater danger than espionage, weapons of mass destruction, or terrorism. Not so very long ago, “hackers,” those perpetrating cybercrime, were the stuff of science fiction and quasi-futuristic action movies. So how has hacking reached such lofty, though shady, heights?

Criminals Ahead of Security

The survey, conducted by PwC US and CSO magazine, polled 500 executives from a variety of US businesses. The report shows that online attackers have reached a level of technological sophistication that puts them ahead of their victims’ security efforts. Even the most advanced cyber security practices fall far short of the technological skills of dedicated hackers. And, because they’re kind of dicks, cyber criminals are more determined than ever to access secure data for their own nefarious gains.

“Cyber criminals evolve their tactics very rapidly, and the repercussions of cybercrime are overwhelming for any single organization to combat alone,” reads a statement from David Burg, Global and US Advisory Cybersecurity Leader for PwC. “It’s imperative that public and private organizations collaborate to combat cybercrime […] A united response will prove to be an indispensable tool in advancing […] cybersecurity.”

computer hacker

US Business Leaders More Concerned Than Global Counterparts

The State of Cybercrime Survey documented that, among global business leaders, 49 percent were concerned about how cybercrime could negatively affect their company. Among US business leaders, that number leaps to 69 percent—and rightfully so.

The survey also found that, on average, each organization was the target of 135 cybercrime incidents. Though only one-third of those surveyed were able to—or were willing to—estimate the financial losses caused by these attacks, the average reported loss was well over $400,000.

Almost Half of Americans Hacked

Another new report, this one from CNNMoney, estimates that roughly 110 million Americans have been the victims of hackers in the past 12 months. Including all the various online accounts held by each person, that adds up to about 432 million compromised accounts.

With the nigh constant warnings and news stories about big businesses like Target and Neiman Marcus getting hacked, experts worry that people may start to suffer from what has been dubbed “data-breach fatigue”—another day, another donut, and another hack. But the potential for damage has never been more real. Most data breaches lead to exposure of names, credit card info, passwords, phone numbers, addresses, and more.

Stay on your toes out there on the interwebs, gang. No one is safe.


Photo credit: elhombredenegro / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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