The internet allows us to communicate with one another from across the globe, find the answer to pretty much anything in matter of seconds, order food, get directions, send pictures and so much more.
But just like anything, the good comes with the bad. And the “bad” in this case is cybercrime. Being so digitally connected exposes us to significant risks, especially if we don’t take steps to stay safe.
White is Cybercrime?
Cybercrime is defined as any crime that is committed with the use of a computer. This could mean an email scam in which a “Nigerian Prince” asks you to wire him some money so that he can process his visa to move to your country, but it could also be a direct attack against a company’s data and try to steal account information and credit card numbers.
Cybercrime can also be the sale of illegal materials over the internet; such as drugs or child porn. As well as abuse, such as when pedophiles try to talk to kids, or when people make fun of each other, causing harm – also known as cyberbullying.
An Underappreciated Threat
However, despite the very real threat cybercrime poses, not enough people take it seriously. It’s quite common to find people using devices that aren’t locked, or using exceptionally common passwords to secure their accounts or opening suspicious email that can give cybercriminals far too much access to their personal information.
In case you’re one of these people who do not take cybercrime seriously enough, here are 19 alarming statistics that will wake you up to the severity of this threat:
1. There is a cyber attack once every 39 seconds
According to a study from the University of Maryland, a typical computer is attacked in one way or another every 39 seconds. This could ocme in a form of direct hacking attempt, a phishing attempt, or some other version of spam meant to infect your computer with harmful software, known as malware.
To do this study, researchers lowered the defenses on a series of computers and monitored how often they were attacked. Thankfully, if you’re’ using an anti-virus program and some common sense, you should be able to avoid most of these attacks and stay safe. But still, it’s unnerving to know just how many attacks are happening at any given moment.
2. 78% of the organisations in US have experienced a cyber attack in 2019
Although hackers will attack pretty much anyone, they often try to focus on companies and organisations that have people’s financial or personal information. Somewhat surprisingly though, hackers are increasingly going after medium and small-sized companies because large companies, although in possession of more data, use their resources to put up stronger defenses against cybercriminals. Smaller companies can’t do this and therefore potentially better targets.
3. 23% of Americans have either had their credit card or financial information stolen by hackers
This is one of those things you don’t think can happen to you until it does. It will be totally unexpected. One day you’ll you into your bank account and see a few transaction for things you clearly didn’t do.
In most cases, when this happens, you can make a claim with your bank or credit card company and get the money back, but this won’t save you from the hassle of having to cancel your card, wait for a new one, and then update all your accounts. Plus, you may never get the peace of mind back that you lose when someone gets hold of your data.
4. 30% of all US consumers were affected by data breaches in 2018
We give out our personal information to pretty much anyone, especially if they agree to ship us new clothes or fancy new gadget. In general, this isn’t a bad thing. Companies who take credit card information or other sensitive data usually take great pride in their efforts to keep it safe, but no one can be truly immune from cybercriminals. This translate to about 1 in 3 chance of being affected by a data breach at a company you do business with.
5. Already more than 1,000 data breaches, exposing 147 million records just in the 1st nine months of 2019
That’s just a little more than 100 breaches a day. If this doesn’t make it a hit home that cybercriminals are a constant danger, nothing will. Luckily our defenses make it s so that most, but not all, of these exposed records are not overly sensitive. However, this stat should serve as a reminder as to why it’s so important to put up the strongest defense possible.
6. Number of data breaches is growing each year
There is no reason to think this threat will go away if we just “wait it out”. As more and more of the world goes online, there is more valuable information than ever, meaning cybercriminals have considerable incentive to try and hack into a company’s system and steal your personal data along with that of hundreds if not thousands of others.
7. Mobile malware variation has increased by 54%
This is a stat that reminds us how hackers and other cybercriminals are constantly improving the techniques they use to attack us and steal our information. Malware, which is a blanket term for the many different types of infected software hackers try to get you to install by phishing you, is getting more complex, especially for mobile devices.
Once considered safe from hackers, our dependence on our smartphones has hackers creating lots of new software designed to get to our data. And this new malware is increasingly varied, , meaning it’s difficult to identify and to block, which just means we need to be constantly
8. The economic cost of cybercrime in the US is between $57 – $109 billion
This cost comes from things such as: paying back funds lost to fraud, compensating those who have had their identity stolen, giving or losing money to false fronts, paying ransoms to have viruses removed, and much more.
This is not something that happens every once in a while and that doesn’t cause much harm. Instead, as mentioned above, it’s a constant threat that can have severe consequences, such as
9. The cost of cybercrime to the global economy is around $445 billion per year
It’s important to remember this is not just a problem in the United States. Cybercrime is a huge problem all over the world, with some countries experiencing even more problems than others. A good example is Indonesia where you have a 76 percent chance of being affected by a cyberattack. All of these attacks come with a price tag, and in total, they cost the global economy close to half a trillion dollars a year
10. We lose $1.48 billion to phishing
Phishing is the tactic scammers use of trying to get you to be the one to let them into whatever system they are trying to hack or to outright steal from you. They usually use email, but they can also call or text you, and they are relying on you to click the link in the email that will trigger a download onto your computer.
Other emails might be made to look like they’re from someone you know, or a complete stranger (such as a Nigerian prince), asking for money to help them out of a sticky situation. Always verify these before sending anyone anything, especially money or your credit card information.
It seems silly thinking about it like this that people would fall for this. But many email users aren’t aware of the risks and/or that hackers are always finding new ways to trick us.
Cybercrime: Not a laughing matter
The threats cybercrime poses to not only our financial security but also our personal safety are at times overwhelming. It can feel as though there is no escaping. But while this is a very serious matter, taking the proper steps to defend yourself can go a long way.
Make sure all your accounts are protected with a unique password, use anti-virus software, stay out of your spam folder and don’t open anything you find in there unless you’re 100 percent positive it’s safe, double-check URLs and email addresses, and always follow the golden rule: when in doubt, don’t click.
If you follow these steps and work to constantly educate yourself about how to protect against the threats we face online, you will avoid being a cybercrime statistic and will be able to browse the web in peace.
Article used with permission from BroadbandSearch