Report estimates that computer and Internet users face 80 billion malicious scam everyday. There are 33,000 phishing attacks and 4,000 ransomware daily, with about 780,000 records lost to hacking.
Most cybercrime is an attack on information about individuals, corporations, or governments. Although the attacks do not take place on a physical body, they do take place on the personal or corporate virtual body, which is the set of informational attributes that define people and institutions on the Internet. In other words, in the digital age our virtual identities are essential elements of everyday life: we are a bundle of numbers and identifiers in multiple computer databases owned by governments and corporations. Cybercrime highlights the centrality of networked computers in our lives, as well as the fragility of such seemingly solid facts as individual identity.
There are steps to reduce cybercrime, although security researchers have been pushing several of these recommendations for years.
Among the proposals:
- Uniform implementation of basic security measures like; regular software updates and patches.
- Increased international law enforcement cooperation.
- Tougher cybersecurity laws in several countries.
- Penalties for nations that harbor cybercriminals.
“Without these kinds of action, cybercrime will continue to grow as the number of connected devices grows and as the value of online activities increases,” Lewis writes.
How devices get hit by cyber criminals
Lewis points to poorly-protected IoT devices as a particular problem. Insecure IoT devices “provide new, easy approaches to steal personal information or gain access to valuable data or networks,” he writes. They also power botnets that can create massive denial-of-service attacks.
Among the other reasons for the growth in the cost of cybercrime:
- Cybercriminals are embracing new attack technologies.
- Many new Internet users come from countries with weak cybersecurity.
- Online crime is becoming easier through cybercrime-as-a-service and other business schemes.
- Cybercriminals are becoming more financially sophisticated, making it easier to monetize their exploits.
Lewis also suggests that the Tor anonymous browser and Bitcoin are favorite tools of cybercriminals.
“Bitcoin has long been the favored currency for darknet marketplaces, with cybercriminals taking advantage of its pseudonymous nature and decentralized organization to conduct illicit transactions, demand payments from victims, and launder the proceeds from their crimes,” he writes. “Cybercriminals benefit from the fact that no personally identifying information is linked to the use and exchange of Bitcoin, allowing criminals to operate with near impunity.”
Tor developers have defended their project by saying it protects users’ privacy by shielding them from corporate tracking and government surveillance. And Bitcoin defenders say the cryptocurrency’s anonymous transactions help improve security.