A new McAfee-sponsored report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), “The Economic Impact of Cybercrime and Cyber Espionage,” revealed that cybercrime is having a significant impact on economies around the world. More specifically, it has cost businesses worldwide between $375 billion and $575 billion, more than the national income of most countries. Governments and companies underestimate how much risk cybercrime poses and how quickly that risk can grow, asserted CSIS.
The full impact of cybercrime, of course, goes beyond the monetary. It is also felt in the job market. CSIS estimated that the losses from cybercrime could cost as much as 200,000 jobs in the United States and 150,000 jobs in the European Union.
The most important cost, however, is the damage it causes to company performance and national economies, the report asserted. It damages trade, competitiveness, innovation, and global economic growth. It means:
- The cost of cybercrime will continue to increase as more business functions move online and as more companies and consumers around the world connect to the Internet.
- Losses from the theft of intellectual property will also increase as acquiring countries use it to improve their ability to manufacture competing goods.
- Cybercrime is a tax on innovation and slows the pace of global innovation by reducing the rate of return to innovators and investors.
- Governments need to begin serious, systematic effort to collect and publish data on cybercrime to help countries and companies make better choices about risk and policy.
It’s imperative, therefore, that companies do more to protect their networks and countries strengthen their cyber defenses. What’s needed, CSIS contended, is better technology and stronger defenses, as well as agreement about and application of standards and best practices.
“Making progress on these changes will require governments to do a better job accounting for loss and companies to do a better job assessing risk,” the report concluded.